Florida Entomologist 83(3) September, 2000

Lloyd: On Quantifying Mate Search in a Perfect Insect

ILR 2000 Figures 1- 6

all photos by J.E. Lloyd/UF

Fig. 1. Copulating pair of Photinus tanytoxus Lloyd, a sibling species of P. collustrans, which except for the dark coloration of the elytral bead is morphologically indistinguishable. The female was perched just off the ground near her burrow. Fig. 2. A copulating pair of P. tanytoxus on the ground, with attentions from a second (top) male. Wing (1984) made several interesting discoveries concerning this situation, and the competitive and defensive tactics of males.
Fig. 3. Twilight on the lawn of a lakeside house near Gainesville, Florida, with several P. collustrans males searching for females. Note their arcing, slowing flight while flashing, and the thin slice of space they use over the ground. Fig. 4. A firefly student observing the flashing flight of a single male P. collustrans, along the grassy roadside on the west side of Newnans Lake, Gainesville.
Fig. 5. A female P. collustrans, showing her short elytra and large and thinly cuticled abdomen, with her burrow's entrance at the tip of her abdomen. Fig. 6. Large and small measuring wheels. The wheel at the right has the "event counter" mounted on the handle bar; the smaller one was used by an assistant and seems to have been responsible for somewhat different values. Another wheel model has a solid rather than spoked wheel and would work better in brushy areas.