Currently viewing the category: "Fireflies and Glowworms"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Insects
Geographic location of the bug:  Florida
Date: 08/09/2018
Time: 08:52 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found a flying bug in Trenton Florida has wing’s eye lashes Orange and black with a big stinger
How you want your letter signed:  Melissa

Male Glowworm

Dear Melissa,
This is a male Glowworm, and unlike Fireflies that have bioluminescent adults, it is generally only the larval Glowworms that give off light.  What you have described as “eye lashes” are actually antennae, and there is no stinger.  Glowworms are entirely harmless to humans.  We try to promote tolerance of the lower beasts, and it appears this Glowworm met an untimely death, so we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

Male Glowworm

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  My kids must know what this is!!
Geographic location of the bug:  Coker, Alabama
Date: 08/06/2018
Time: 02:28 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My children have become bug lovers, like their mom!  They like to explore and are constantly trying to find “critters.”  Yesterday while we were playing in the creek near our home we found a HUGE millipede, a salamander, a crayfish, a lamprey, and this little guy/girl.  I’m pretty quick with google and I know basic names for most of what we find but this one stumped me!  Help us!!
How you want your letter signed:  Keep on finding bugs!!

Railroad Worm or Glowworm

We strongly suspect you did not find this Railroad Worm in the creek unless it fell in.  Railroad Worms or Glowworms are the bioluminescent larvae of Beetles in the family Phengodidae, and if it is still in your possession, you should look at it in the dark to witness the glow.  If you do that, please send in a photo of this Glowworm glowing.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Female Glowworm
Geographic location of the bug:  Santa Fe, NM
Date: 07/16/2018
Time: 12:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  (Ed. Note:  This came from a comment submitted to a very old Firefly posting on our site.)  Saw and have photos of a presumed female in Santa Fe, NM on July 14, 2018. Bright constant glow. Have not seen one before in the 20 years living here.

We would love to review and possibly post your images.  You may submit them by using the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site.  Please put “Female Glowworm” in the subject line to get our attention.

I used a flashlight for this photo. I have others but the attached one is the best.
How you want your letter signed:  Cathy Frey

Larviform Female Firefly

Hi Cathy,
Thanks so much for submitting your image.  This appears to be a larviform female Firefly in the genus
Microphotus, which is represented on BugGuide.  Fireflies and Glowworms are both common names for different families of Beetles, and to further confuse things, Charles Hogue does refer to a California Beetle in this genus as a Pink Glowworm, when it is in fact a Firefly, which is proof that common names can often cause confusion.  We do classify them together in the same beetle subcategory though they are not really that closely related.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bioluminescent millipede
Geographic location of the bug:  Wisconsin
Date: 06/28/2018
Time: 11:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
We live in Wisconsin, USA and found a couple bioluminescent millipedes here at our home. From what we’ve been reading, they’re not native to this area or maybe even this country.
Anywho, we’re now very curious about this creature. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
How you want your letter signed:  Brittany


Dear Brittany,
This is not a bioluminescent Millipede, but rather a native Glowworm.  A Glowworm is the bioluminescent larva of a beetle in the family Phengodidae, a group distinct and separate from Fireflies or Lightning Bugs in the family Lampyridae.  Adult male Glowworm beetles are quite unusual looking in their own right, though they are not bioluminescent. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bug with eyelash type antenae?
Geographic location of the bug:  Portland, Oregon, USA
Date: 06/17/2018
Time: 09:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m very curious what this bug is as I have never seen one before and have lived here my whole life. It was on the outside wall of my house. It was small, maybe about a centimeter long, found in early June here in Portland, Oregon.
How you want your letter signed:  S. Wilson

Male Firefly

Dear S. Wilson,
This is a male Firefly and we believe we have correctly identified it as
Pterotus obscuripennis based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide: “comes to lights in spring/early summer.”  Folks from the eastern and midwest parts of the country often miss Firefly displays when they move to the west coast, but they don’t realize there are many species of Fireflies there, though few have bioluminescent capabilities, and when they do, they rarely appear in the spectacular displays witnessed in other parts of the country.  Our editorial staff is currently enjoying glowing Fireflies, or Lightning Bugs as we always called them, in Ohio.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Colorado Glowworm
Geographic location of the bug:  Sedalia, CO
Date: 06/11/2018
Time: 12:41 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Thanks for your thread on the CO Glowworm. I found three tonight in the weeds by our home in the foothills SW of Denver. We live at 7000′ just north of Woodland Park, south of Pine, and west of Rampart Range (all places mentioned in the thread.)
We’re new to the area, but none of the long-timers have ever seen anything like this.  I’m fascinated and terribly curious to learn more. Have you found any more info on these guys?
I’m attaching a pretty crappy picture fwiw. My good camera is with my son out of state. If I can find more next week, I’ll see if I can grab better pix.
How you want your letter signed :  Amy


Dear Amy,
Though we would relish a better image of your insect, we do want to commend you on visually capturing both the insect itself as well as its bioluminescence.  Based on your image, which we believe to be of a pink larviform female, we surmise this is a Firefly from the genus
Microphotus, and while BugGuide does not list any sightings in Colorado, there are sightings in California, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, so the range might actually extend to Colorado.  Part of the confusion is that some literature refers to the California species Microphotus angustus as a Pink Glowworm, though it is actually a Firefly from the family Lampyridae.  Since we are constantly trying to clean up our archives, slowly making corrections, we are changing the name of the Glowworm posting you originally cited to correctly indicate this is a Firefly.  As an aside, our editorial staff is currently on holiday in Ohio where we have been enjoying nightly Firefly displays.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination