The Xerces Society has submitted a petition for the listing of the Florida intertidal firefly (Micronaspis floridana) under the federal Endangered Species Act
The Florida intertidal firefly, also known by the common names mangrove firefly and fiddler crab firefly, is a habitat specialist found only in the mangroves and salt marshes of coastal Florida and the Bahamas. Belonging to a tropical branch of the firefly family tree, this species is the only member of its genus in the United States. Adult Florida intertidal fireflies have a distinctive appearance, with a mostly transparent head shield, large eyes, and wide pale borders on dark wing covers. After nightfall, adults fly low over coastal vegetation and flash a greenish yellow light every 1.5 to 4 seconds.
The larvae, which evoke caterpillars wearing suits of armor, glow in the dark while searching for snails to eat near the high tide line. Both adults and larvae are active year-round in southern Florida, with highest abundance in the spring.
The Florida intertidal firefly was assessed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, a non-regulatory designation distinct from the Federal ESA. Its threats include habitat loss and degradation due to coastal development, light pollution, pesticides, sea level rise, and introduced nematodes. While it occurs within some conservation lands, there are no species-specific measures being taken to protect it. ESA listing and designation of critical habitat will prevent the extinction of this unique firefly.
- Read the ESA petition
- View Micronaspis floridana species profile
- Learn more about this species and other at-risk fireflies in the State of the Fireflies of the US and Canada
- More information is needed about the distribution, phenology, and life history of this species. If you would like to learn more and join research efforts to better understand this and other fireflies, please check out the Firefly Atlas
- Learn how species become protected under the Endangered Species Act from NOAA Fisheries