What Do Lightning Bugs Eat?

Close-up of lightning beetle mid-flight
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Lightning bugs, also called fireflies and lightning beetles, are actually a part of the beetle family and are widely known for their signature glow. According to National Geographic, there are over 2,000 known species of lightning bugs.

A Variety of Diets

Lightning bug larvae eat snails, slugs and worms. Once they find their prey, they inject them with a substance that immobilizes them. Several species of adult lightning bugs attempt to lure other species of lightning bugs so they can eat them. Other adult species sustain themselves with plant nectar.

Climate Preferences

According to National Geographic, lightning bugs enjoy warm, wet environments. They often live in the more humid regions of Asia and the Americas. While they may be seen seen in drier climates, it’s usually during the wetter times of the year.

Signature Glow

Lightning bugs have an organ located in their abdomen that produces light when oxygen mixes with a substance called luciferin that the organ creates. This light flashes in distinctive patterns that helps the insects find mates.

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