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by Valerie

April, 2014


male glowworm

This incredible looking creature might not look much like most beetles, but that is what it is. The male glowworm (Phengodes sp.) looks so different from the female that it is easy to think they are completely different creatures. Glowworms are in the family phengodidae, and the females are bioluminescent and larviform, meaning that they glow and also look very similar to the larvae. Only males develop wings and the impressive antennae. With these sensitive appendages and their large eyes and wings, the males seek out the females, who remain on the ground near their retreats. The males hone in on the pheromones the females produce. Like all beetles, the front pair of wings (elytra) on the male are not used for flying. However, on most beetles the elytra cover and protect the flight wings, but in glowworms they are reduced to small stubs. The large curved jaws on the male are probably for holding the female during mating, as the adult males do not feed. Females and larvae DO feed, however, and their prey consists of millipedes.

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