Firefly; Lightning Bug
Oak Ridge, TN
June 4, 2008
This is probably one of the most favorite insects of many children. I remember filling the bottom of a glass jar with fireflies (a.k.a "Lightning bugs") when I was a kid. It was fun to watch them light up in my room before I went to sleep!
A Firefly / Lightning bug is neither a fly nor a bug, it is a beetle. This one is a male, the following photo shows the light-producing segments on his abdomen. Males fly above the ground in order to attract the attention of the females below. Each species has its own flash pattern. The female one species will flash the pattern of another, when the male comes down to mate she quickly makes a meal of him! Yet another sneaky female insect! :)
Here is a good website to explain the highly complicated chemical process: Firefly lighting process