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Ant-loving scrub firefly

Pleotomodes needhami
A Pleotomodes adult male from Florida. (Photo: Oliver Keller, iNaturalist.)
U.S. State
Florida
Life History

Activity Period and Flash Signal

Flightless adult females emerge from ant colonies after dark in mid-April, emitting a light for up to an hour to attract glowing males.

Distribution

The ant-loving scrub firefly is endemic to the Mid-Florida Ridge region of Florida.

Habitat Associations

This unusual species is found in association with ants in xeric pine and oak scrub forests. Larvae, pupae, and adults of both sexes have been found within ant nests. It is unclear how these fireflies evade detection by the ants, if their dispersal is assisted by them, or if they are true ant obligates. Because of their primarily subterranean nature, very little is known about this species. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has not been documented from very many localities. 

Conservation Status
  • IUCN Red List status: Endangered (tentative pending publication)
  • NatureServe status: Not assessed
  • U.S. Endangered Species Act status: None
Threats

Threats to this species include habitat loss and degradation due to agricultural and residential development as well as light pollution from nearby towns.

Conservation Needs
  • We need to know more about the distribution of this species. Report potential sightings to iNaturalist.
  • Turn off your outdoor lights at night so the lights of this firefly aren’t diminished by light pollution. You can read more about firefly-friendly lighting in our fact sheet.
  • Avoid pesticide use, which could harm this firefly, its habitat, or its prey.
Prepared By

Candace Fallon, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, based on the IUCN Red List assessment

USA