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Fireflys are a soft beetle compared to most others who have hard elytra protecting them. Firflys are most easily found during the night when the tip of their end lights up. The light is not persistent, it comes in flashes mostly in yellow. The female of some species of fireflys are wingles and crawl around emitting light, they are often refered to as "glowworms." The light is believed to come from oxidation of granuels in the outer layer of the lower abdomen.

Photo Courtesy of: Troy Bartlett http://www.troyb.com/photo/gallery/086-32-Firefly.htm

  Source: Fernald, H. T. Applied Entomology. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 1935.