210075A

210075A
Caption: Common firefly ventral body (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 ventral view of the beetle with head, thorax, elytra and legs. Note the large compound eye and thorax shield that protrudes over the head. 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*: x8
Type: SEM
Copyright 2010 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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