04.21.2015 Firefly Larva

Be prepared…not everyone will find this larva as attractive as I do, but it is pretty cool and will eventually provide a summer light show in my backyard.  I was letting Murphy out when I found a couple of firefly adults on the cherry tree that holds one end of his run. I didn’t make any images of them as I have several, but while wandering the woods out where the beagle stuff goes, I found this larva climbing a birch tree.  BugGuide.Net ID’d it for me as I had never seen one and didn’t really know where to start with a larva.

Firefly Larva-on-Birch-042115-700WebThe changes that happen during metamorphosis just amaze me.  Here is what it will resemble eventually although a different species.


Something grabbed from the interweb:




About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Animal Behavior, Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, macro photography, Nature Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to 04.21.2015 Firefly Larva

  1. Gail P. says:

    How interesting! That larva looks very dragon-llike.


  2. Jim in IA says:

    It is remarkable how the changes occur. The larvae look nothing like the adult in most cases.

    As I said in the post on tht social media site, Mother Nature’s babies aren’t always cute and pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Especially in the insect world. Beauty has little place in nature. Certain features aid in attracting a mate, but it’s hard to say whether those attributes are recognized as beautiful.
      I’m going to edit an image into this reply, so the email notification is not complete. 🙂


  3. Mark says:

    I have never seen what the larvae look like. Very cool!


  4. Metamorphosis is like a miracle. The amazing and stunning changes of mother nature are well worth your photographic efforts which gives so much added interest to the many unknown happenings in our environment.

    Have you ever done any presentations at some of the local kindergarten or elementary schools?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a miracle, Yvonne. I was a pretty goofy teen before my metamorphosis.

      No, I haven’t. The fears of public speaking and children prevent me from doing that. I did a slideshow for a local photography group two years that was ok but way out of my comfort zone.


  5. I grew up with fireflies on Long Island but I believe their numbers have declined a lot in the decades since then. I was glad to see a couple of fireflies lighting up in Austin last night.


  6. Lady Bird Larva have a similar metamorphosis, from a dragon looking bug to a smooth shelled beauty. Lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. BuntyMcC says:

    The larvae are so well camouflaged they look like something from a fern or a seed head. And that cartoon is priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s called a holometabolous moult … one accompanied by dramatic structural change (compare to ametabolous and hemimetabolous moults). Couldn’t resist …. just discussed this in lecture the other day. I’m gonna cut-n-paste the cartoon – perfect! Nice photo … much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad that you defined the moults although I am fairly confident that I will not remember the terms a week from now. Quite a coincidence that you lectured on the subject so recently.


  9. shoreacres says:

    I laughed out loud at that cartoon. Smart and funny is a great combination.

    I love lightning bugs, but confess I had no idea they had such an interesting life cycle. We just accepted them as they showed up on July evenings, caught a few in a jar to set on the window sill overnight, and then let them out in the morning. They put on a great show along many of the small creeks and streams in the hill country. Just at dusk, they’ll start rising up in great, flickering clouds that are just delightful.

    One of my favorite Mark Twain quotations involves lightning bugs. In a letter written to George Bainton on October 15, 1888, he said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”


    • Yes, it’s a great cartoon. I admire folks who can dream up such good humor.

      As Steve mentioned earlier, we had a decline in fireflies a few years ago, but the last few have seen a bit of a return which I hope continues. Summer nights just aren’t the same without them. I did the same…capturing them in jars for the evening before releasing them. In retrospect, I guess we caused a lot of frustration by doing that.

      I have been guilty of the “almost right word” a little too often. I responded to Steve above that we also called lightning bugs glow worms. Of course, that was a little mistaken on our part as they aren’t really the same thing. Almost the right word, I guess.


  10. krikitarts says:

    If I’d seen the larva on an hike, I’d never have guessed it would turn out to be a stage of the firefly. What an astounding transformation, and thanks for opening our eyes–yet again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank goodness for BugGuide. I’d probably still be page flipping trying to ID this otherwise.
      There is so much to see out there and one can always find something new and amazing.


  11. Andrew says:

    I have seen firefly larva and they are very impressive. Excellent photos Steve. Murphy the Firefly Tracker!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ll be chuckling over that one for the rest of the day, Steve 🙂

    I would have never guessed that that larva would turn into a lightening bug. The larva of dragonflies can look quite alarming (and delightful) as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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