Fireflies are tiny little creatures that have the ability to provide some pretty amazing light shows. As adults, they enjoy eating nectar, dew droplets and pollen. They are some adult fireflies that actually don’t eat anything, as hard as that might be to believe.
During the larval stage, a firefly is a carnivorous insect, and it will consume decomposing bodies, earthworms or snails. It eats a variety of other arthropods that can be found in soil.
Firefly larvae are capable of immobilizing their prey through the use of an anesthetic digestive fluid. Once the anesthetic has been delivered, the firefly will use its powerful jaws to begin feeding on the prey.
After about one to two years, pupation occurs, and fireflies become herbivorous. There are over 2,000 different species of fireflies, and many of the wingless females don’t eat anything.
Despite the name, these insects really aren’t flies at all. They’re actually a type of beetle, which is why they have strong jaws. Also known as lightning bugs, fireflies actually use light to speak to each other.
Why They Use Light
The main purpose of the light produced by fireflies is for mating. The females emit light and use it to attract males. However, they might also use the light to warm predators or defend territory. In the majority of firefly species, both the male and female can emit light.
There are some species where only one sex has the ability to light up, but both males and females can always glow. Did you know that fireflies have the most efficient light sources in the world?
When one of these insects produces light, 100 percent of the energy emitted is light. A typical incandescent bulb only converts 10 percent of energy used into light.
Since a firefly’s light source produced no heat, scientists call it a cold light. A typical firefly has no problem eating other insects of the same species.
The larvae usually eat worms and snails, but species such as the genus photuris mimics light source and devours the males of the same species.
Although you probably don’t see them very often, fireflies actually live on every continent, and they love warm, humid areas. They actually thrive in tropical environments, so the next time that you’re inside of a forest, make sure to watch out for them.