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The Pyralis firefly (also known as the lightning bug) is a common firefly in North America. This partly nocturnal, luminescent beetle is the most common firefly in the USA.

The Firefly's Glow: At night, the very end (the last abdominal segment) of the firefly glows a bright yellow-green color. The firefly can control this glowing effect. The brightness of a single firefly is 1/40 of a candle. Fireflies use their glow to attract other fireflies. Males flash about every five seconds; females flash about every two seconds. This firefly is harvested by the biochemical industry for the organic compunds luciferin (which is the chemical the firefly uses for its bioluminescence).

Anatomy: This flying insect is about 0.75 inch (2 cm) long. It is mostly black, with two red spots on the head cover; the wing covers and head covers are lined in yellow. Like all insects, it has a hard exoskeleton, six jointed legs, two antennae, compound eyes, and a body divided into three parts (the head, thorax, and abdomen).

Diet: Both the adults and the larvae are carnivores (meat-eaters). They eat other insects (including other fireflies), insect larvae, and snails.

Classification: Order Coleoptera, Family Lampyridae, Genus Photinus, Species P. pyralis.

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