Lampyridae is a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera.
They are winged beetles, and commonly called fireflies or lightning bugs for their conspicuouscrepuscular use of bioluminescence to attract mates or prey.
These small animals were discussed not merely by the scientist but frequently appeared in literature, prose and poetry, and also played a prominent part in folklore and medicinal remedies.
There are about 2,000 firefly species. These insects live in a variety of warm environments, as well as in more temperate regions, and are a familiar sight on summer evenings.
Fireflies love moisture and often live in humid regions of Asia and the Americas. In drier areas, they are found around wet or damp areas that retain moisture.
Fireflies produce a "cold light", with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies. This chemically produced light from the lower abdomen may be yellow, green, or pale red, with wavelengths from 510 to 670 nanometers.
Fireflies have dedicated light organs that are located under their abdomens. The insects take in oxygen and, inside special cells, combine it with a substance called luciferin to produce light with almost no heat. To make light, the luciferin combines with oxygen to form an inactive molecule called oxyluciferin.
Firefly light is usually intermittent, and flashes in patterns that are unique to each species. Each blinking pattern is an optical signal that helps fireflies find potential mates. Scientists are not sure how the insects regulate this process to turn their lights on and off.
Firefly light may also serve as a defense mechanism that flashes a clear warning of the insect's unappetizing taste. The fact that even larvae are luminescent lends support to this theory.
Some areas once had so many fireflies that they profited from running firefly tours in marshes and forests—but since human traffic has increased, firefly populations have gone down. Logging, pollution and increased use of pesticides may also contribute to destroying firefly habitat and natural prey.
Fireflies are medically and scientifically useful.