What is the Firefly Atlas?

The Firefly Atlas is a collaborative effort to better understand and conserve the diversity of fireflies in North America. Launched in 2022, the project aims to advance our collective understanding of firefly species’ distributions, phenology, and habitat associations, as well as to identify threats to their populations. 

Although the Atlas tracks all species described from the US and Canada, we are currently prioritizing efforts for a subset of 13 threatened and data deficient species found in three focal regions of the US: the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Southwest. These priority regions were chosen based upon having a high number of threatened species (Fig 1) and/or a high number of data deficient species (Fig 2).

Map of threatened species, showing a cluster in the southeast.
Map of data-deficient species, mapping all over the U.S., and especially dense in the west.

Figures 1 and 2. Threatened species (left) are clustered in the Southwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic through Midwest regions of the U.S. In the West, data deficient (DD) species (right) make up a far larger percentage of each state’s firefly fauna than in the East, with the exception of Florida. Figures extracted from State of the Fireflies of the United States and Canada: Distributions, Threats, and Conservation Recommendations.

What Can You Do Through This Project?

  • Find information about how to survey for 13 focal species;
  • Access survey protocols and species identification materials;
  • Submit observational data, including photos;
  • Identify the fireflies in your photos, with the potential for verification by experts;
  • Download a species checklist for your state or province of interest;
  • Learn more about fireflies, their ecology, and ongoing conservation efforts;
  • Help researchers better understand the distribution of fireflies; and
  • Connect with other researchers, land managers, and community scientists.

Whether you already keep records of firefly observations, work as a conservation professional, or are simply curious to learn more about the fireflies in your area, please consider joining our efforts!

How Can You Participate?

There are two ways you can participate in the Firefly Atlas:

Submitting an incidental observation

Conducting a full survey and submitting your results

You can get started now by creating an account. Once you have an account, take some time to explore other sightings near you and read more about the threatened or data deficient species in your region. You can submit incidental sightings at any time, but if you would like to do a more in-depth survey, please review our participant handbook, species ID guides, and other training information before heading out.


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This is a project of the Xerces Society, working in collaboration with the IUCN SSC Firefly Specialist Group and New Mexico BioPark Society.

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