Similar but not the same – revealed

Half of the respondents of my quick survey: similar but not the same think that there are five firefly species in this photo (not bad!). Actually, there are six species in total, including a newly described species from Balingian, Sarawak (manuscript in review). Well done to four anonymous friends who voted for six species  (are you Coleopterists?)

From dorsal view (top side), it is almost impossible to distinguish between species of Pteroptyx – aren’t they alike? So it is not surprising if someone thought there is only one species in this photo. How to distinguish them then? If you look at the firefly from ventral view (bottom side), you can find a light organ (whitish / creamy colour) on its abdomen. In other words, each firefly species has its dedicated light organ.

So, next time if you want experts to identify any firefly species using photos, make sure to send photos of your specimen with dorsal and ventral views.

Thanks to All for participating in this survey – stay tuned for more (fun) surveys!

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