Visiting a firefly meadow on a summer evening is a memorable experience, but what exactly do you see? How many different types of fireflies are among the flashing lights? Can you tell if they are male or female? Why are they flashing? What is a firefly, anyway?
Also known as lightning bugs, fireflies are neither bugs nor flies; they are actually beetles, which have two pairs of wings. The outer pair, called elytra, are hard and held outright during flight like the wings of an airplane. The softer inner pair beat to power and control the beetle's flight.
What Do They Look Like?
Like all insects, fireflies have six legs and three body parts. The upper part of the middle segment, the thorax, extends over a firefly's head and is called the pronutum. Since they are creatures of the night, fireflies also have large eyes.
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