A comprehensive review and call for studies on firefly larvae.

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From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 10,109 words
Lexile Measure: 1260L

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Abstract :

Background Fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) are commonly recognized by adult traits, such as a soft exoskeleton, lanterns and associated glow and flash patterns, but their larval stage is far less appreciated. However, fireflies spend most of their lives as larvae, and adults of most species rely solely on resources previously obtained. Therefore, studying the immature stages is imperative towards a comprehensive understanding of fireflies. This paper reviews and indicates key gaps in the biology of firefly larvae based on available literature. Methodology We reviewed the literature on firefly larvae to identify key issues and important taxonomic, geographic, and subject biases and gaps. Results We found 376 papers that included information on firefly larvae. Only 139 species in 47 genera across eight of eleven lampyrid subfamilies have been studied during larval stages. These numbers reveal a staggering gap, since 94% of species and over half of the genera of fireflies were never studied in a crucial stage of their life cycle. Most studies on firefly larvae focus on two subfamilies (Luciolinae and Lampyrinae) in four zoogeographic regions (Sino-Japanese, Oriental, Nearctic, and Palearctic), whereas the other subfamilies and regions remain largely unstudied. These studies mainly dealt with morphology and behavior, other subjects remaining greatly understudied by comparison, including habitats, life cycle, physiology and interactions. Conclusions Together, these literature biases and gaps highlight how little is known about firefly larvae, and warmly invite basic and applied research, in the field and in the lab, to overcome these limitations and improve our understanding of firefly biology to better preserve them.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A676160338