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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Lampyridae
Subfamily: Lampyrinae
Tribe: Photinini (disputed)
Genus: Phausis
LeConte, 1851

Several, but see text

Phausis is a genus of firefly beetles (family Lampyridae). These beetles are for the most part unimpressive in their appearance and behaviour, so have not drawn much study, and little is known about many of the species. Species in this genus are at least known from Europe and North America. More than seven species occur in North America, ranging throughout much of the continent.

The genera Phausis and Lamprohiza are very similar and in need of revision; the delimitations between the two are not clear. Alternatively, Phausis may be paraphyletic and/or at least in part synonymous with Lamprohiza. The genus is traditionally placed in the tribe Photinini of the Lampyrinae, but at least the blue ghost firefly, Phausis reticulata does not seem to be particularly close to this group (or Lamprohiza for that matter) and might not even belong in the subfamily Lampyrinae.[1]


Phausis males are small compared to many fireflies, ranging from about 3.0 to 8.5 mm (0.12 to 0.33 in). Most are brown to brown-black in colour and have transparent "window" spots in the front half of the pronotum. A key characteristic distinguishing adult male Phausis from most other firefly genera is the presence of a minute glassy bead at the tip of each antenna. Males have huge eyes.

Female Phausis specimens, where known, are larviform. For most North American species, the females have not been discovered, possibly because they often live in burrows in the soil, so are not easily collected.

Most males are not luminescent, while females (those that are known) do emit bioluminescence in the form of a continuous glow. Males of the species Phausis reticulata also emit a faint, constant glow.[1]

Selected species[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kathrin F. Stanger-Hall, James E. Lloyd & David M. Hillis (2007). "Phylogeny of North American fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae): implications for the evolution of light signals". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 45 (1): 33–49. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.05.013. PMID 17644427.