Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wet Wednesday Beetle: The Firefly that couldn't

A firefly that flies, but doesn't fire
The genus name, Ellychnia, of this luminescently challenged firefly (a beetle in the family Lampyridae) apparently is derived from the Greek for a lantern or lantern wick, but it has no light-making organ. I suppose the common name of Diurnal Firefly gives us a hint of why this may be so. We call this beetle Ellychnia corrusca s.l. The appendage stands for 'sense broad' in Latin (sensu lato), because 'corrusca' seems to be a complex of species.
Ellychnia corrusca or a close relative
Diurnal Fireflies are common on flowers such as goldenrod in the fall, overwinter as adults, and show up early in the late central Alberta spring. Although they don't shine, we like them anyway. At our place in the country, there is a firefly that shines in the vegetation along the shores of the lake and marsh. This is undoubtedly a species of Pyractomena, Alberta's only glowing glow-worms, but which of the two species we are not sure. I suppose some summer night we should brave the bog and beavers and try to get a picture and specimen. But so far, we've just been happy to watch them flicker in the dusk.

No comments:

Post a Comment