A number of firefly ID guides and other resources have become available in the last decade. We’ve shared a few of our favorites here, as well as some more in-depth taxonomic keys for folks who want more technical resources. Note that firefly taxonomy and knowledge is ever-evolving, so you may find some inconsistencies between sources. For conservation guidance and information on the state of fireflies more broadly, check out the Xerces Society’s series of firefly publications.
Field Guides and General Information
- Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs: Identification and Natural History of the Fireflies of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada (Faust, 2017)
- Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies (Lewis, 2016)
- Field Guide to Western North American Fireflies (Buschman, 2016)
- The Fireflies of Ontario (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) (Luk, Marshall & Branham, 2011) Be aware that this source states that Photuris pensylvanica is the only species of Photuris in Ontario. Since this publication, Photuris pensylvanica has come to be used more narrowly and is not thought to occur in Ontario.
- Fireflies of Texas (firefly.org, Pfeiffer) This webpage includes profiles of five Photinus species that are among the approximately 39 firefly species found in Texas.
- World Lampyridae, Lycidae, Phengodidae, Drilidae, and miscellany (Cicero, 2013) Users can search this online database for literature related to specific genera and/or species.
- Fireflyers International Network maintains an extensive list of keys and field guides for North America and beyond
- Lampyrid-ID: Key to the world genera of fireflies (Coleoptera, Lampyridae) (Martin, Branham, Da Silveira, Bybee, 2020)
- North American Fireflies of the Genus Photuris (Barber, 1951)
- A naturalist’s long walk among shadows: of North American Photuris — patterns, outlines, silhouettes… echoes. (Lloyd, 2018)
- Studies on the Flash Communication System in Photinus Fireflies (Lloyd, 1966)
Xerces Society Publications
The Xerces Society, Albuquerque BioPark, and members of the IUCN SSC Firefly Specialist Group have compiled a series of publications focused on the conservation status of fireflies, their life history needs, threats to their persistence, and recommendations on how to protect them and their habitats.
- State of the Fireflies of the United States and Canada: Distributions, Threats, and Conservation Recommendations
- Conserving the Jewels of the Night Guidelines for Protecting Fireflies in the United States and Canada
- Conserving the Jewels of the Night: Firefly-Friendly Lighting Practices
- Sustainable US Firefly Tourism: A Guide for Site Managers