Scientific Name: Lampyris noctiluca (Lampyridae).
English Name: Eurasian Glow-worm (Firefly family).
French Name: Le Lampyre (='shiner'); le ver luisant (='glowing worm').
|Larva, on roadside bank, Sainte Maure de Touraine.|
5 Key Characters:
- males look like beetles (which they are) and can fly.
- females, with their many segmented bodies, look like larvae and are wingless.
- females emit bioluminescence in the form of glowing green under the tip of the abdomen to attract a male at night.
- 1.5 - 3 cm long.
Lookalikes: Lesser Glow-worm Phausis splendidula, which has 3 spots of light. Larvae could be mistaken for a large Ladybird Coccinellidae larvae.
Habitat: Grass, from lawns to roadside verges. Often encountered in large not too pristine gardens, where the larvae eat snails and the females will glow on the grass at night.
Adult Active Period: June-July.
Status: Common but declining. Despite the vernacular names they are beetles, not worms.
References and Further Reading:
Jean-Henri Fabre's chapter on the glow-worm can be read in English here.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature: