Fireflies & Lightning Bugs in Central Florida

Fireflies populate Central Florida.
Fireflies populate Central Florida. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Fireflies or "Lightning Bugs" are known for the lighting effects that emit from these beetles. These beetles can be seen clearest at night in dark areas like a field or garage. These beetles mainly live in hot and humid areas. The light source of these beetles come from the abdomen area when the beetle inhales oxygen and the oxygen combines with a substance called luciferin in the abdomen. The lights flash on and off for certain amounts of time determined by the genera of firefly and the sex of the firefly. Three genera of firefly exist, which include Photinus, Pyractomena and Photuris. In Central Florida, the Photinus macdermotti populates the area.


The season for the fireflies in central Florida begins in the earlier part of April. You can see the yellow-green flash of these beetles. You can catch a spotting of these fireflies near bodies of water such as the lakes, ponds or lagoons in Central Florida, the fields, gardens and the woods.

Lighting Flash

The intermittent flash of these beetles can help you determine if you are seeing a male or a female. The male emits a double flash every one to two meters. The males also fly upward during the second flash. The female only emits a single flash between one and two seconds after the male finishes its second flash.


The reproduction of these beetles depends on the temperature and the percentage of rainfall. The highest mating occurs when the average temperature reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The mating season starts in the early summer months. At the beginning of the mating season, female fireflies outnumber the males. However, toward the end of the summer mating season, males outnumber the females.

Life Expectancy

The lifespan of the Photinus macdermotti is approximately two or three years. The lifespan begins after the female lays her eggs. The fertilized eggs hatch approximately after three weeks. The larvae stays in this stage for over one year with a maximum of three years. The larvae hatch as adults between two and three weeks after they pupate. The adult firefly remains an adult for a couple of weeks.

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