Let’s face it. Every single lightningbug out there is desperately trying to pass on its genes to the next firefly generation. But some female glow-worms are really dedicated mothers, so I think they deserve a special shout-out today.
Like other glow-worms, females of the Blue Ghost firefly are born wingless, so they can only dream of flying. Instead, they’re destined to spend their nights crawling around the leaf litter, shining from tiny glow spots, hoping to attract a mate. However, because they’re freed from the hefty demands of flight, glow-worm females can channel all their resources into making lots of eggs – like the female pictured above!
After she has mated, the Blue Ghost female lays a batch of about 30 eggs down in the leaf litter. Then she curls her body, guarding her eggs and glowing protectively above them until she dies.
This egg-guarding behavior is highly unusual for fireflies. Although she won’t live to see her offspring hatch (that will take about a month), she can die happy knowing she’s given her offspring the best possible start in life!
So Happy Mother’s Day to all the Blue Ghost mamas!
Learn more about female glow-worms in Silent Sparks Chapter 5: Dreams of Flying.
You can read our article about courtship and mating behavior in Blue Ghost fireflies here.