MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: How many species of insects are bioluminescent?

Date: Mon Jul 17 10:11:39 2000
Posted By: Danise Coar, Staff, Research, Development and Engineering, Philip Morris USA
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 963706906.Zo

Collembola, Diptera and Coleoptera are 3 orders of insects that have 
members that exhibit bioluminescence.   Collembola are commonly known as 
springtails and not much is known about the bioluminescent properties of 
this insect.  Several immature Diptera (flies) exhibit bioluminescence and 
they are commonly known as fungus gnats.  The larvae live in very dark 
places or caves and they spin webs to catch other small insects which are 
attracted by their glow.  The most widely known insect to exhibit 
bioluminescence is the firefly which really is not a fly but a beetle in 
the order Coleoptera.  They use their lights primarily to find one another.

Borror, D.J., D.M. DeLong and C.A. Triplehorn.  1981.  An Introduction to 
the Study of Insects.  Saunders College Publishing.

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