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Pennsylvania State Insect

Firefly with flashing light - click to see all state insects
Pennsylvania Firefly flashing its light - photo © E.R. Degginger/ Color-Pic, Inc. www.color-pic.com (used by permission). See All State Insects.

Firefly

Firefly video

The firefly - Photuris pennsylvanica (DeGeer) - was designated the official state insect of Pennsylvania in 1974. A small, unremarkable beetle by day, fireflies can transform a midsummer night into a fairyland of tiny, brilliant twinkling lights - a wonder of nature.

Commonly called "lightning bug" in Pennsylvania, the firefly produces light through an efficient chemical reaction using special photic organs, with very little heat given off as wasted energy. One or both sexes use species-specific flash patterns to attract members of the opposite sex (though not all firefly species are bioluminescent as adults).

Firefly close-up -click to see all state insects
Pennsylvania firefly, Photuris pennsylvanica; photo © J. E. Lloyd:
Common Insects - U of Florida (used by permission).
See All State Insects.

These flashing signals range from a continuous glow, to discrete single flashes, to "flash-trains" (composed of multi-pulsed flashes). In most North American species of firefly (including Photuris pennsylvanica), the males fly about flashing their species-specific flash pattern, while females are typically perched on vegetation near the ground. When a flashing male attracts a female, she responds at a fixed time delay after the male's last flash. A short flash dialogue may ensue between the fireflies as the male firefly locates her position and descends to mate.

The firely is also a state symbol of Tennessee. Most states have adopted at least one insect symbol as a state insect, state butterfly, state bug, or state agricultural insect (see list of all state insects).

Source:
Pennsylvania - Symbols: PA Historical & Museum Comm.
State Symbols: Hello Pennsylvania
State Symbols: Pennsylvania House of Representatives
The Firefly Files: Ohio State U
Links:
Fireflies: Earth & Sky Kids Radio Shows
Illustrations of Larvae, Pupae, and Adults : U of Florida
Coleoptera: Lampyridae: Common Insects, U of Florida
All State Insects


    

 

Pennsylvania Symbols & Icons

animal - dog
bird - insect
fish -fossil
flower - plant
tree - soil
arboretum - toy
beverage - cookie

flag - seal
quarter - motto
coat of arms
song-colors
name - nickname
locomotives
theater -flagship
 

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Leo the Lightning Bug (with Audio CD)

Leo the Lightning Bug (with Audio CD) - perfect for preschoolers and up. Leo's a lovable little lightning bug, but he has a big problem: no light! This leads to teasing by the other bugs ... more

Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Backyard Wildlife - National Wildlife Federation
Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Backyard Wildlife
by National Wildlife Federation

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