Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Glow worms


QUESTION: I'm a novel writer from Italy (with no entomologistic knowledge), and not having found help elsewhere, I hoped you could light up my doubts.
I'm writing a novel about a glow worm. It should be a female glow worm. Having read something about a glow worm life cycle, and according to what the storyline should be, it'd be better if she were at a pupa stage.

I've read that adult stage glow worm do not have a mouth (nor a digestive system, at this point, right?), and I've also read that only larval stage glow worm do eat.

So my doubts are:
-Do pupa stage glow worms eat?
-Is it true that a female glow worm stay for her whole life in larval stage?
-If a female glow worm does not advance into adult stage, remaining in larval stage, will she continue eating until her death?

I'm sorry if I wrote too much.
I thank you ahead, for your kindness and helpfulness.

ANSWER: High Gabriella
There are two different insects that produce light. One is the firefly or lightening bug and is a beetle. The other is a Fly found in Europe. I suspect you are asking about the other . The larva feeds on snails and insects. The adult female does not stay as a  larva but emerges as a winged insect that looks a big mosquito( for the purpose of mating.) She has no mouth parts


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your clear and accurate answer.

And what if it were a not-European type?
Would she be capable of eating at a pupa stage? And at adult stage?

Let me distinguish again between to kind of glow worm. The European glow worm and the firefly belong to two different orders of insects. The Glow worm found mainly in Europe belongs to the Diphtheria( flies) and is not found in the Americas. The larvae are actually maggots and are predators.
The fireflies belong to the Coleopteran (beetles) Both the larvae and the adults produce light and feed. The larvae are predators. Some south American fire flies actually prey on other species of firefly. The beetle is also found in Europe
 If you are writing about a glow worm the firefly is more interesting especially the predatory females. Fireflies use the light to communicate during mating. The female stays on the ground and flashes a signal each species with a particular signal. When a male of the same type sees the signal he approaches the female and they mate.  The South American predatory female uses different signals to attract males of different species and when he approaches her she devours him. Some species have evolved and the male flashes a fake signal and if the female repeats it he "Knows" she is not of his species and he avoids her.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Walter Hintz


I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.


I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.