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Immature Stages of Lampyridae


Detailed information on immature stages of Lampyridae is being acquired.  However, Clausen (1940) noted that members of this family are the fireflies or glowworms, which are found worldwide, being conspicuous because of the luminescence produced by certain organs.  All stages show luminescence; even the eggs have a faint glow due to the material with which they are coated at the time of oviposition.  Several species are diurnal and have the luminescence organs only slightly developed or entirely lacking.  Females of most species are wingless and somewhat larviform and of much greater size than males.  A few species are considered phytophagous as adults (Williams 1917), although the majority, both adults and larvae, seem to limit feeding to snails, with some evidence that cutworms and earthworms also form part of the diet.  The amount of food consumed by the larvae is much greater than that consumed by adults, with many of the latter not feeding at all.  Larvae are thought to inject a powerful toxic agent into the body of the snail host, for death occurs quickly after attack, even though the mechanical injury is usually very light (Clausen 1940/62).


In Asia, several species are aquatic, the larvae of some living in clear flowing streams, while others inhabit standing water such as in rice fields.  Their food consists almost entirely of aquatic snails.  The larvae of most terrestrial species seem to live ca. two years, while aquatic forms have an annual cycle.  Hibernation is as larvae in a soil chamber on or underneath the surface.  They usually pupate in a soil cell, beneath trash or on the surface in moist situations.  Early accounts of the biology of several common North American species were given by Hess (1920).



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