Subject: Winter Dark Fireflies
Location: Monroe County, Ohio
April 9, 2014 6:56 am
I found several dozen of these on the sides of Chestnut Oak trees on April 6. I think they are winter dark fireflies (Ellychnia corrusca), although I’ve read that it’s more likely a complex of closely related, undescribed species. My question is about the larvae form that is with it. There were equal numbers of adults and larvae on the trees. Is this the same species with both adults and mature larvae at the same time? Are these females that have retained there larval characteristics like Phengodidae glowworms.
We want to compliment you on your awesome images. We sharpened them slightly due to the shallow depth of field. This is the second letter we have received of Winter Fireflies in the past two days. We did locate an image on BugGuide of a mating pair of Winter Fireflies, so we are confident that your images are NOT of larviform females. Are they the same species? We cannot be certain, but finding the larvae and the adults together is a good indication they are the same species. We have a difficult enough time distinguishing Firefly Larvae from Net-Winged Beetle Larvae, so we would not want to be conclusive, but your photos do bring up the possibility of aggregations of adult and larvae Winter Fireflies coexisting. BugGuide has an image reported to be the larvae of the Winter Firefly, but they appear redder than your images. The image on PBase is a much closer color match to your individual. The images of the adult and larva taken by Christine Hanrahan were shot in April 2011. There are questions regarding the two stages posed by Claudia: “Do they overwinter both as adults and larvae? Or have some of the larvae already pupated and become adults?” but the questions are not answered. We would strongly suggest that you also submit your images to BugGuide which has a much larger community of individuals who can supply comments. Your photos might turn out to be an important documentation of the cohabitation of adults and larvae of the Winter Firefly. Or, as Claudia asks, we might be seeing a group of individuals of the same generation who matured at slightly different times.