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Glowworm beetles belong to the family of Phengodidae and are so called because the adult females of this family of insect can produce light, just like fireflies do. The light comes from paired photic organs located on each body segment and appears as one glowing spot on each side of the body. Because these glowing spots along the body resemble the windows of train cars internally illuminated in the night, they are often referred to as "railroad-worms." Sometimes these photic organs manifest into luminous bands between each body segment as opposed to singular spots.

The adult males do not glow, but their lack of bioluminescence is most certainly made up for in the elaborate segmented antennas that these beetles sport. These fancy antennae are used to detect and follow pheromones produced by the female.

Glowworm beetles occur throughout the New World from extreme southern Canada to Chile.

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.


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