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California Glowworm

Ellychnia californica


These key to Ellychnia californica in Fender(1). Subtleties of shape of the inner edges of the red (or "roseate") sublateral vittae are diagnostic...note that they are roughly straight and diverging from apex to base, with a small semi-circular indentation near their bases. (Plate 1 on the 3rd page of Fender(1) has detailed diagrams of pronota of western species which show well the subtleties of vittae and pronotal shape. In particular, they illustrate the difference between E. californica and the very similar E. megista, which are sympatric...the later having its holotype from the Santa Cruz area.) While adults of this species don't bioluminesce, their presumed larvae have bright (intensity) pale (color) green luminescent area on their abdomens. The larvae are nocturnal and feed on snails by pumping chemicals through channeled mandibles that paralyze their prey and liquefy its tissues, which are then swallowed. (All this slightly paraphrased from Evans & Hogue


Riparian, 3200'


Dead Horse Ranch State Park, AZ

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Robb Hannawacker
Spotted by
Robb Hannawacker

Cottonwood, Arizona, USA

Spotted on Sep 16, 2003
Submitted on Aug 22, 2013

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