Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Comparing Blue Ghost Fireflies with common yellow-blinking fireflies

This image shows a direct size comparison between adult male specimens of the smaller Blue Ghost Firefly (Phausis reticulata) and the larger more common yellow-blinking firefly (Photinus pyralis).  Both fireflies are lying on their backs, exposing their undersides.  Although not lighted in the image, the two bioluminescent tail segments on each specimen are obvious, with the pale bluish white color of the smaller Phausis reticulata and the pale yellowish color of the larger Photinus pyralis.  This image clearly shows that the BGF is less than half the size of the more common yellow-blinking firefly, while it's bioluminescent segments are only about 1/20th as large!  However, when seen in the total darkness of a moonless night deep in the forest, the continuous burn of the BGF can seem very bright and eerie indeed.

Photo by Ed Speer
Canon REBEL EOS DSLR T3i camera (f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO-800, 50 mm lens)
& AmScope binocular microscope SM-1T (7X magnification)
The smaller firefly (Phausis reticulata) has a broken antenna. 
The length measurements were taken from the far end of the antennas to the tail end of each firefly.

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