Caption: Common firefly pulvillar pad tenent setae (Photinus pyralis). Photinus pyralis is the common firefly and is known as the Eastern, Common Eastern, or Big Dipper firefly). It is also called a lightning bug / beetle (family Lampyridae). The most commonly known fireflies are nocturnal. Shown here is the leg pulvillar pad (with tenent setae). 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. The flashes of light are used to attract mates. 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*: x345
Type: SEM
Copyright 2010 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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