What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

(10/12/2003) Hi
I fancy myself as an amateur entomologist, but I recently found two creatures that have me stumped.  Four times over the course of the last month I found what appears to be a large grub.  I initially thought
the animal was a centipede of some sort, but upon closer inspection it seemed to be an insect.  It had 7 or 8 segments with 6 legs on the second segment.  It trailed its long tail after it with amazing speed.  Each shiny, plated segment had 2 black spots on a background of red/rust and yellow.
Today while walking in a nearby forest (this time with camera in hand) I spotted a bizarre blue grub.  It had the same body plan as the first animal I described: segmented with 6 legs up near the front…except this one was a dazzling iridescent blue.    I was able to snap a couple of nice photos.
I am guessing that these are Coleoptera spp.  larvae.  Am I correct??
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.  This is driving me nuts!
Melody McFarland
Durham NC



Dear Melody,
It appears as though you have photographed the elusive glowworm, either a female or a larva. Glowworms are beetles from the family Phengodidae. It is a small group of relatively uncommon beetles closely related to Lampyridae or Fireflies. Liker the fireflies, glowworms are capable of luminescence, or glowing in the dark. They are usually found in foliage or on the ground. The adult females of many species are wingless and luminescent. They are predaceous. I will try to get additional information on your exact species which is an amazing color. Here is the only photo I could locate online of a pair of glowworms, and as you can see, structurally, the female looks much like yours in everything but color.

Hi Daniel!
Thanks for the prompt reply!  I combed through every insect book I have and was not able to find anything. Your website is fantastic!

Ed Note:  January 13, 2009
This posting got lost in our site migration and we are just now posting it live again.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: North Carolina

4 Responses to Glowworm

  1. Jim Ottinger says:

    We have found one in our yard. It seams more light Pale tan. It was in the same spot 3days running. Any info. Would be appreciated.

  2. charles myers says:

    I have seen these , or something quite similar near my home in Guerneville (northern) CA.

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