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Tennessee State Insect :

Eastern firefly - click to see all state insects
Eastern firefly (Photinus pyralis) on leaf - photo © Andrew Williams /
Critterzone (used by permission - contact Critterzone: Animal Pictures,
Nature Stock Photography for commercial license or any use).
See All State Insects.

Firefly

See firefly video below

The firefly was desgnated the official state insect of Tennessee in 1975. A small, unremarkable beetle by day, the firefly transforms midsummer nights into a fairyland of tiny, brilliant twinkling lights - a wonder of nature. Commonly called "lightning bug." The most familiar species of firefly in Tennessee is Photinus pyralls.

Photo of firefly flashing - click to see all state insects
Flashing firefly photo © E.R. Degginger/Color-Pic, Inc. -
www.color-pic.com - Ed Degginger (used by permission).
See All State Insects.

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). These signals range from a continuous glow, to discrete single flashes, to "flash-trains" composed of multi-pulsed flashes.

Eastern firefly - click to see all state insect symbols
Eastern firefly photo © Andrew Williams / Critterzone (used by permission - contact Critterzone: Animal Pictures, Nature Stock Photography for commercial license or any use).
See All State Insects.

In most North American species of firefly , 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.

Tennessee recognizes three other insects as state symbols: the honeybee, ladybeetle (ladybug), and the zebra swallowtail butterfly.

Source:
State Symbols: TN Dept. of Education
The Firefly Files: Ohio State U
Links:
Illustrations of Larvae, Pupae, and Adults : U of Florida
Coleoptera: Lampyridae: Common Insects, U of Florida
All State Insects


    

 

Tennessee Symbols & Icons

bird 1-2
flower 1-2  
animal - horse
butterfly
insect 1-2-3
reptile
fish 1 - 2
amphibian
tree 1-2 - fruit
gem - rock
stone - soil

flag - seal - quarter
motto - slogan
name - nickname
poems 1 - 2
songs: 1-2-3-4-
5-6-7-8-9-10-11
folk dance
festival
museum 1 - 2
tartan - painting
art - theater
 

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Caterpillars of Eastern North America
Caterpillars of Eastern North America
Lavishly illustrated ... more

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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