Classification. Polyphaga: Elateriformia.
Distribution. Photurine Lampyridae occur throughout the New World from Canada to Argentina.
Biogeographic regions: Nearctic, Neotropical.
Biology. Most photurines, like other fireflies, are predaceous as adults and larvae, and adults of some Photuris feed on other members of the Lampyridae. Both male and female photurines are winged and possess luminescent organs, which are used to attract mates or in some cases lampyrid prey. At least one species of Photuris from Brazil is known to feed as larvae on the guano of haematophagous bats (Gnaspini and Trajano, in press).
Barber, H. S. 1951. North American fireflies of the genus Photuris. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 117: 1–58.
Gnaspini, P. and E. Trajano (in press). Guano communities in tropical caves. Case study: Brazilian caves, pp. 251–268. IN: H. Wilkens, D. C. Culver and W. F. Humphreys (eds.), Ecosystems of the World - Subterranean Biota. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Lloyd, J. E. 1983. Bioluminescence and communication in insects. Annual Review of Entomology 28: 131–160. Luciolini). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 96: 223–305.
Lloyd, J. E. 2000. 70. Lampyridae. IN: R. H. Arnett, Jr., Jr. and M. C. Thomas (eds.), American Beetles. CRC Press, Gainesville, Florida (in press).
McDermott, F. A. 1962. Illustrations of the aedeagi of the Lampyridae (Coleoptera). Coleopterists Bulletin 16: 21–27.
McDermott, F. A. 1964. The taxonomy of the Lampyridae (Coleoptera). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 90: 1–72.
McDermott, F. A. 1966. Pars 9 (Editio secunda). Lampyridae. IN: W. O. Steel (ed.), Coleopterorum Catalogus Supplementa. W. Junk, The Hague, 149 pp.
Olivier, E. 1907. Coleoptera Fam. Lampyridae. IN: P. Wytsman (ed.), Genera Insectorum. Fascicle 53. P. Wytsman, Brussels, 74 pp., 3 pls.
Olivier, E. 1910. Pars 9. Lampyridae. IN: S. Schenkling (ed.), Coleopterorum Catalogus. W. Junk, Berlin, 68 pp.
General appearance. Total length 8–18 mm. Ratio of body length to greatest body width 2.2–2.6. Body strongly flattened, or slightly flattened to moderately convex. Sides of body not evenly curved. Body not capable of conglobation (rolling into a ball). Upper surfaces of body clothed with distinct hairs, setae or scales. Vestiture of upper surfaces not including stiff, erect, dark bristles; not including scales or scale-like setae. Upper surfaces of body without deep foveae. Prothorax, metathorax and-or abdomen without extrusible glands. Underside of body without hydrofuge surface(s).
Head. Ratio of head length to its greatest width (excluding eyes) greater than 1. Head width just behind eyes not distinctly greater than prothoracic width. Head not or slightly declined, or moderately to strongly declined; not entirely concealed from above by pronotum, or entirely concealed from above by pronotum; without elongate rostrum; not abruptly constricted posteriorly. Temples absent or not closely adpressed to prothorax; absent. Transverse occipital ridge or carina absent. Occiput without stridulatory file. Longitudinal axis of head (from occipital foramen to mouth cavity) inclined at an angle of less than 45 degrees, or inclined at an angle of 45 to 90 degrees. Frontal region not to moderately, gradually declined. Occipital region without median longitudinal groove or line (endocarina). Frontal region without median groove or line (endocarina). Head without ocelli.
Compound eyes present. Eyes strongly protuberant. Vertical diameter of eye less than 2 times horizontal diameter. Eyes finely facetted; without interfacetal setae. Ommatidium of the exocone type. Eye entire. Anterior or mesal edge of eye not or only barely emarginate. Posterior edge of eye not or barely emarginate.
Antennal insertions exposed from above; closely approximate or contiguous. Antennae not borne on raised tubercles. Subantennal groove or cavity on head absent or very weakly developed. Frontoclypeal suture absent or incomplete. Clypeus not laterally emarginate. Anterior edge of clypeus or clypeolabrum concave to shallowly emarginate. Mouth cavity anteriorly or anteroventrally oriented. Pregular area without laterally opening cavities. Head ventrally without paired subgenal ridges. Head without anteriorly-projecting genal processes. Gular sutures narrowly separated. Corporotentorium incomplete or absent. Cervical sclerites present.
Antennae. Number of antennomeres 11. Antennae when posteriorly extended reaching beyond middle of prothorax but not middle of elytra. Antennae filiform. Antennomeres 3, 4 or 5 to 10 without or with single rami (uniramose). Antennae at least partly pubescent or with obvious modifications. First antennomere (scape) less than 3 times as long as 2nd (pedicel). Antenna not geniculate; without apical club.
Mouthparts. Labrum at least partly visible; partly or completely fused to clypeus or frontoclypeus, without or with incomplete suture. Major portion of labrum strongly transverse. Apex of labrum subtruncate to slightly convex, or trilobed or with several lobes or teeth. Labrum moderately to heavily sclerotized, except at base and-or apex. Mouthparts not forming a piercing or sucking tube. Mandibles present. Mandible very narrow and elongate. Mandibular apex strongly and abruptly curved mesally; unidentate, truncate or rounded. Dorsal part of mandible without tubercle; without setose cavity. Incisor edge of mandible simple. Mandible without mola; with well developed prostheca. Prostheca absent or without articulated, sclerotized process. Maxilla with distinct galea and lacinia. Maxillary lobe(s) not stylet-like. Apex of galea or maxillary lobe densely setose or spinose; without heavily sclerotized teeth or hooks. Lacinia without hook(s) or spine(s). Apical maxillary palpomere securiform to cultriform; at least as wide as or longer than preapical one. Maxillary palp without complex palp organ. Apical labial palpomere slightly to strongly expanded apically. Ligula deeply emarginate or bilobed.
Prothorax. Ratio of pronotal length to greatest pronotal width 0.5–0.7. Prothorax widest posteriorly. Sides of prothorax moderately to strongly curved. Prothorax not laterally compressed to form cavities for legs. Sides of prothorax moderately to strongly, horizontally explanate. Base of prothorax not or slightly narrower than elytral bases. Greatest prothoracic width not or slightly narrower than greatest elytral width. Lateral pronotal carinae complete; simple; visible for their entire lengths from above; without a raised margin. Lateral portion of prothorax without deep pit. Pronotum without anterolateral callosities. Anterior angles of pronotum absent or not produced forward; absent, right or rounded, not produced. Posterior angles of pronotum obtuse or right; not produced and acute. Posterior edge of pronotum more or less straight or evenly rounded; simple; not or vaguely margined, or with narrow raised margin or bead. Discal carinae of pronotum absent. Pronotal disc without paired basal impressions, or with paired basal impressions. Pronotum without median longitudinal groove or line. Hypomeron without pit.
Lateral portion of prosternum in front of coxae shorter than mid length of procoxal cavity. Anterior edge of prosternum not produced anteriorly. Prosternum in front of coxae flat to moderately convex. Prosternum in front of coxae without paired lines or carinae. Anterior edge of prosternum without mesal excavation. Anterolateral or ventrolateral portions of prothorax without cavities or grooves. Prothoracic cavities absent. Prothoracic grooves absent. Prosternal process incomplete. Ventral portion of prothorax on each side with notosternal suture only. Propleuron not extending to anterior edge of prothorax. Propleuron or pleurotrochantin not extending behind coxa. Procoxae projecting well below prosternum. Procoxa without or with short concealed lateral extension. Procoxal cavities absent, procoxae attached externally. Postcoxal projection absent or very short. Prothoracic trochantin or pleurotrochantin at least partly exposed. Promesothoracic clicking mechanism absent.
Elytra. Elytra present. Ratio of elytral length to greatest elytral width 1.77–2.13. Ratio of elytral length to pronotal length 4.15–4.4. Elytra apunctate, irregularly punctate, or with 5 or fewer distinct puncture rows or striae; without scutellary striole. Sutural stria absent or not deeply impressed near apex. Abdominal tergites exposed by elytra none or apex of 1. Elytral apices independently rounded or acute and separated by broad gap. Elytral suture not deflected near apex. Elytral apex without internal interlocking tongue. Epipleuron absent or incomplete; not or gradually narrowed. Lateral edge of elytron straight or weakly sinuate.
Pterothorax. Scutellum well developed; not abruptly elevated; anteriorly simple; posteriorly narrowly rounded or acute. Mesoscutum without stridulatory file. Mesoventrite without paired procoxal rests. Paired mesoventral procoxal rests absent, horizontal or slightly oblique. Anterior edge of mesoventrite without prosternal rest. Mesoventrite not divided by longitudinal groove or discrimen. Anterior edge of mesoventrite at midline on same plane as metaventrite. Mesoventral cavity absent. Mesocoxa conical and projecting. Mesocoxal cavities present, mesocoxae countersunk, or absent, mesocoxae attached externally. Mesocoxal cavities at middle contiguous. Mesocoxae separated by less than shortest diameter of coxal cavity. Mesocoxal cavities circular to slightly transverse; moderately to strongly oblique. Mesoventrite partly or completely fused to mesepisterna. Mesepisterna without deep pockets. Mesepimeron not visible from above. Mesocoxal cavities open laterally; not partly closed by metepisterna. Mesoventral process absent or not extending to middle of mesocoxal cavity. Mesometaventral junction absent or a point. Mesoventral and metaventral processes at midline separated by gap, groove, or suture.
Metaventral discrimen or median line moderately to very long. Paired postcoxal lines of metaventrite absent. Postcoxal lines of metaventrite absent. Metaventrite longer than first abdominal ventrite. Postcoxal pits of metaventrite absent. Metaventrite moderately to strongly convex. Transverse groove of metaventrite absent. Anterior edge of metaventrite without transverse carina between mesocoxal cavities. Exposed portion of metepisternum moderately elongate. Metacoxae contiguous or narrowly separated; extending laterally to meet elytra or sides of body; completely separated from metaventrite by suture. Metacoxal plates weakly developed; not concealing most of basal abdominal ventrite. Metacoxae not greatly enlarged; obliquely oriented. Lateral arms of metendosternite short or absent. Metendosternal laminae absent. Ventrolateral processes of metendosternite absent or weakly developed. Anterior process of metendosternite moderately long. Anterior tendons of metendosternite moderately or very close together. Apical portion of metendosternite not or only slightly emarginate.
Hind wing. Hind wing well developed; with normal transverse folds. Radial cell of hind wing well developed; elongate. Inner posterior angle formed at base of radial cell right or obtuse. Radial cell not forming equilateral triangle. Ratio of length of apical area to total wing length less than 0.2. Medial bar of hind wing not crossed by fold. Free veins in medial area of hind wing 5 or 6. Oblongum cell of hind wing absent. Medial fleck of hind wing absent; absent or not partly bisected by a vein. Wedge cell of hind wing well developed. Anal lobe of hind wing absent. Posterior edge of hind wing without fringe of long hairs.
Legs. Femoral attachment of mid trochanter strongly oblique with base of femur separate from coxa. Mesotrochanter not reduced or concealed from below. Metafemur not much wider than mesofemur. Mesotibia not strongly widened. Outer edge of mesotibia simple, crenulate or denticulate, or with distinct teeth or long spines. Outer subapical edge of mesotibia without antenna cleaner. Preapical surfaces of mesotibia without ridges or combs. Outer apical angle of mesotibia simple or slightly produced, without lobe, teeth or spines. Mesotibial spurs glabrous or absent. Mesotarsus with 5 distinct tarsomeres (pentamerous). Tarsomeres on hind leg at least as many as on mid leg. Tarsomeres on fore leg at least as many as on mid leg. Mesotarsomere 1 well developed and visible. Preapical mesotarsomeres together longer than apical one. Penultimate mesotarsomere not distinctly shorter than antepenultimate. Ventral mesotarsal lobes on penultimate tarsomere only. Mesotarsal claws paired; subequal in length and similar in form and angle of inclination; simple, or toothed or bifid. Appendage on each tarsal claw absent. Mesotarsal claws without setae near base. Mesotarsal empodium absent or with 2 or fewer setae. Inner subapical edge of protibia without antenna cleaner. Hind legs without swimming hairs. Preapical surfaces of metatibia without ridges or combs.
Abdomen. Number of abdominal ventrites 7, or 8. Number of basal ventrites connate none. Abdominal sternite 2 visible. First ventrite not completely divided by metacoxae. Suture between ventrites 1 and 2 distinct. Suture between ventrites 2 and 3 distinct. Ventrite 4 articulated with or connate with both 3 and 5. Postcoxal lines on ventrite 1 absent. Ventrite 1 not much longer than 2. Abdominal process absent. Ventrite 5 in female without circular depression. Posterior edge of ventrite 5 not crenulate. Last visible tergite and-or sternite (7 or 8) not forming terminal spine. Subapical abdominal luminous organ absent. Ventrites without setose patches or foveae. Functional spiracles on abdominal segment 8 present. Anterior edge of sternite 8 in male without median strut. Anterior edge of sternite 9 in male without median strut. Tergite 9 in male deeply emarginate (?). Tergite 10 in male well developed and free (?).
Aedeagus trilobate; symmetrical. Anterior edge of tegmen or phallobase without struts. Parameres individually articulated to phallobase or base of penis; not outwardly hooked. Penis without dorsal and ventral lobes. Anterior edge of penis without struts.
Illustrations. • Photuris. Photuris mollis Gorham. Locality: Central America. Reference: Gorham 1881.
The interactive key provides access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, and summaries of attributes within groups of taxa.
Cite this publication as: ‘Lawrence, J.F., Hastings, A.M., Dallwitz, M.J., Paine, T.A., and Zurcher, E.J. 2000 onwards. Elateriformia (Coleoptera): descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval for families and subfamilies. Version: 9th October 2005. http://delta-intkey.com’.