The Fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) of British Columbia, with special emphasis on the light-flashing species and their distribution, status and biology


  • Robert A. Cannings Royal British Columbia Museum 675 Belleville Street Victoria, BC V8W 9W2 phone: (250) 356-8242
  • Marc A. Branham Department of Entomology and Nematology University of Florida P.O. Box 110620 Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
  • Robert H. McVikar Died 13 May 2008. We dedicate this paper to the memory of Bob McVickar, whose enthusiasm for the project got it off the ground.


Lampyridae, fireflies, flashing species, Photuris, Photinus, British Columbia, distribution, identification


In British Columbia the family Lampyridae (fireflies) is poorly known. Ten species in five genera are recorded but adults of only two species produce flashed bioluminescent signals. Before 1997, museum collections that we examined held specimens of only one flashing species from three BC localities, despite recent and widespread reports of flashing fireflies in the province. A solicitation of specimens and sight records from entomologists and naturalists resulted in the discovery of 14 additional collection localities for the two species. Sight records are summarized but are not recorded in detail. As far as is known, Photuris pennsylvanica (DeGeer) (sensu lato), is restricted in BC to the southem Rocky Mountain Trench (East Kootenay region). Photinus obscurellus LeConte, herein recorded in BC for the first time, is widespread in the northeast, central and southem Interior of the province. This paper briefly summarizes the BC lampyrid fauna, examining the status, distribution and biology of the two flashing species in more detail.


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