diurnal fireflies

(Ellychnia spp.)

diurnal firefly (Ellychnia sp.)
Photo by Crystal Boyd

Ellychnia is a genus of typical fireflies. The number of species in the genus is a matter of disagreement, either 17 or 24. Several species are placed in the genus Photinus by some authors. Regardless of their taxonomic placement, all 24 species occur only in North America.

Ellychnia fireflies are active during the day. They attract mates using chemical signals. In the spring they are often found on tree trunks, especially at sap flows on maple. They are reported to nectar on flowers in the fall, especially on goldenrods, but this needs corroboration.


Most Ellychnia species occur in the southwest. There are just three eastern species, Ellychnia autumnalis, Ellychnia lacustris, and Ellychnia corrusca. Each one is thought to be a species complex – a group of several closely related species. The taxonomy is uncertain. The distinction as separate species is supported by differences in genitalia, but there are wide variations in size as well as differences in seasonality and behavior. All three species are said to occur in Minnesota, but Ellychnia corrusca is the only species in the genus for which there are records in Minnesota.


Ellychnia are small to medium-sized beetles. Though called fireflies, they are non-luminous – neither sex has bioluminescent organs.

The eyes are small and spaced far apart. The antennae are slender and have 11 segments. The third and fourth segments are long. The last segment does not have a minute appendage at the tip.

The exoskeletal plate covering the thorax (pronotum) is roughly semi-elliptical. It is rounded in front and the rear angles are almost rectangular.

The turned under fold (epipleura) on the lateral margins of the hardened forewings (elytra) are well defined and moderately wide.

The legs are short and stout.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 82, 83.



Coleoptera (beetles)  


Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, long-horned, leaf, and snout beetles)  




Elateroidea (click, firefy, and soldier beetles)  


Lampyridae (fireflies)  


Lampyrinae (typical fireflies)  



Subordinate Taxa


Alexander’s firefly (Ellychnia alexanderi)

California glowworm (Ellychnia californica)

diurnal firefly (Ellychnia atra)

diurnal firefly (Ellychnia autumnalis)

diurnal firefly (Ellychnia obscurevittata)

granular-necked firefly (Ellychnia granulicollis)

greater firefly (Ellychnia megista)

Green’s firefly (Ellychnia greeni)

lake firefly (Ellychnia lacustris)

little torch firefly (Ellychnia facula)

Pacific Northwest firefly (Ellychnia hatchi)

simple firefly (Ellychnia simplex)

sprinkled firefly (Ellychnia irrorata)

tricky firefly (Ellychnia captiosa)

twice-wounded firefly (Ellychnia bivulneris)

winter firefly (Ellychnia corrusca)

yellow-necked firefly (Ellychnia flavicollis)






Common Names


day-flying fireflies

diurnal fireflies














The hardened or leathery forewings of beetles used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying. Singular: elytron.



The exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.






Visitor Photos

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Crystal Boyd

    diurnal firefly (Ellychnia sp.)      
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Other Videos
  Winter Firefly (Genus Ellychnia)
Bugging You From San Juan Island

Oct 18, 2022

Ellychnia sp. winter fireflies are not actually flies at all, but a species of beetle in the family Lampyridae. Adults have the ability to withstand cold temperatures and may even be seen in the daytime after a snow.

  Ellychnia mated
Les Leighton

Oct 2, 2013

Black Lampyrid Beetles mating. ( Ellychnia spp. ) June 2012

  Ellychnia sp. (winter firefly) on Monarda fistulosa, 8/28/19.
She Who Tends the Woods

Aug 29, 2019




Visitor Sightings

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  Crystal Boyd

Location: La Salle Lake SNA

diurnal firefly (Ellychnia sp.)

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Created: 10/12/2023

Last Updated:

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