Caption: Predator firefly (Photuris sp.). Female Photuris fireflies are known for mimicking the mating flashes of other lightning bugs / fireflies for the sole purpose of predation. Male fireflies are attracted to what appears to be a mate and are then eaten. Note the large mandibles show here that are used for predation. Photuris species are sometimes referred to as 'femme fatale fireflies'. This beetle is named for its ability to flash its abdomen with a yellowish-green fluorescent color. The firefly does this by using an enzyme (luciferase) to oxidize a chemical, called luciferin, in a chamber in its posterior abdominal segments. The firefly controls the flashes by regulating the amount of oxygen that enters the chamber. Photuris light emitting seem to have evolved independently and eventually adapted to those of their prey. The flashes of light are used to attract mates only for predation. The production of light by an organism is known as bioluminescence. There are 2,000 species of firefly found in temperate and tropical environments.
Magnification*: x9
Type: SEM
Copyright 2010 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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