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This article is about the genus of fireflies. For the computer protocol, see Photuris (protocol).
Photuris lucicrescens.jpg
P. lucicrescens
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Elateroidea
Family: Lampyridae
Subfamily: Photurinae
Genus: Photuris
Dejean, 1833

Several, see text

Photuris is a genus of fireflies (beetles of the family Lampyridae). These are the femme fatale lightning bugs of North America. This common name refers to a behavior of the adult females of these predatory beetles: they engage in aggressive mimicry, imitating the light signals of other firefly species' females to attract, kill, and eat the males. Their flashing bioluminescent signals seem to have evolved independently and eventually adapted to those of their prey, mainly unrelated Lampyrinae, such as Photinus (rover fireflies) or Pyractomena.[1]

The Pennsylvania lightning bug (P. pensylvanica) is the state insect of Pennsylvania.

Species include:

There are at least 64 recognized species,[2] all restricted to temperate North America.[3] They mainly occur from the east coast to Texas.[4]


Media related to Photuris at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ Kathrin F. Stanger-Hall, James E. Lloyd & David M. Hillis (2007). "Phylogeny of North American lightning bugs(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. 
  2. ^ Lloyd, J.E. (2003). "On research and entomological education VI: Firefly species and lists, old and now" 86 (2). pp. 99–113. 
  3. ^ Arnett, R.H., Jr., M. C. Thomas, P. E. Skelley and J. H. Frank. (eds.) (2002). American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 0849309549. 
  4. ^ Sharp, Kelly. "Photuris versicolor". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 4 December 2014.