Animal Species:Blue Mountains Firefly
Of over 2,000 species of firefly beetles (family Lampyridae) worldwide, 25 are found in Australia.
Number of species
6 mm - 9 mm
These fireflies are found from Sydney region to south-eastern Queensland. The Blue Mountains Firefly is the only firefly species in the Sydney area.
The Blue Mountains Firefly lives in rainforest.
Other behaviours and adaptations
The fireflies' habit of producing a pulse of light from their abdomen when flying at night makes them particularly noticeable. They have been of interest to humans since ancient times. The first written records of fireflies are from China 2,500 years ago.
Adult fireflies only live for a few days and do not feed (they have no mouthparts) but their larvae generally feed on snails. They hunt by following the slime trail to their prey, which is seized, injected with poison and eaten.
Mating and reproduction
The light helps members of the opposite sex find each other at night. Fireflies advertise their locations with flashes of light. Different species use specific sequences of flashes to attract mates of their own kind. When many individuals of some tropical species gather in bushes and trees, they synchronise their flashes into a spectacular light show that may also serve to confuse potential predators.