Predation by fireflies

Sometimes one need to consult obscure papers in related disciplines to find some data on predation of molluscs. Recently a paper was published by Madruga (2018), reporting “a multiple-choice feeding-preference experiment was made to test the feeding behaviour of the larvae of Alecton discoidalis Laporte, 1833, a Cuban endemic firefly. It was found that in 60% of cases the larvae preferred to feed on Praticolella griseola (Pfeiffer, 1841), an introduced species of snail, considered a farming pest. Therefore, these lampyrid larvae seem to be a natural predator of this snail, which could be considered as a biological agent for pest control of the snail”.

As this paper was not readily available to me, I searched for it and by serendipity found an older one with additional data (Madruga & Hernández, 2010): “Alecton Laporte, 1833, with four known species is the only firefly genus endemic to Cuba. Alecton discoidalis Laporte, 1833, is its most common species, distributed in the western half of the country. Unfortunately, much of its life history remains unknown, as with the rest of Cuban representatives of the family Lampyridae. Larvae are associated with adults of A. discoidalis through rearing, and observations on larval feeding habits of this species are presented. Thirteen species belonging to seven gastropod families are reported for the first time as prey of A. discoidalis larvae. Our data suggest that these are generalist predators of terrestrial snails. A remarkably close association exists between this lampyrid and operculate species of snails. The later represents the most abundant and diverse group of molluscs in limestone landscapes, where the beetles are commonly found”.

Schermafbeelding 2018-11-05 om 11.15.40

Madruga, O., 2018. Seleccion alimentaria de las larvas de la luciernaga cubana Alecton
discoidalis (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). – Boletin de la Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa, 62: 321-322.
Madruga, O. & Hernández, M., 2010. Larval Feeding Habits of the Cuban Endemic Firefly Alecton discoidalis Laporte (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). – Psyche (2010): e149879 (5 pp.).



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