On Research and Entomological Education II: A Conditional Mating Strategy and Resource-Sustained Lek(?) in A Classroom Firefly (Coleoptera: Lampyridae; Photinus)

  • James E. Lloyd


The Jamaican firefly Photinus pallens (Fabricius) offers many opportunities and advantages for students to study insect biology in the field, and do research in taxonomy and behavioral ecology; it is one of my four top choices for teaching. The binomen may hide a complex of closely related species and an interesting taxonomic problem. The P. pallens population I observed gathers in sedentary, flower-associated swarms which apparently are sustained by the flowers. Males and females remained together on the flowers for several hours before overt sexual activity began, and then pairs coupled quickly and without combat or display. Males occasionally joined and left the swarm, some flying and flashing over an adjacent field in a manner typical of North American Photinus species.
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