In the firefly life cycle, the adults we see flying around us represent just the tip of the iceberg. Adult fireflies only live for a few weeks, but they spend up to two years in a juvenile larval stage. We don’t see much of them during this time because they live underground (or underwater, in certain species).
During this larval stage baby fireflies concentrate on gluttony and growth, feasting on earthworms, snails, and whatever other soft-bodied prey they can find. They are small but fearsome predators, using their hollow, sickle-shaped jaws to inject their prey with paralyzing neurotoxins. Then they secrete digestive enzymes to liquify and ingest the prey while it’s still alive. Continue reading