Anecdotal reports of firefly declines have been on the rise in recent decades. While population declines have been documented for some species in Europe and Asia, the picture was not as clear in North America. With the exception of a few localized studies, no effort had previously been made to assess the conservation status of the 171 described taxa in the United States and Canada. In order to understand the extinction risk of fireflies in this region, researchers and firefly experts with the Xerces Society, Albuquerque BioPark, Tufts University, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Firefly Specialist Group completed Red List assessments for 130 firefly species and two subspecies (77% of described taxa in this region to date). These are the first such assessments conducted for fireflies globally.
This report summarizes the extinction risk and conservation status of these species, highlights major threats, and offers an action plan for protecting fireflies. It includes species profiles for all 18 taxa threatened with extinction and two Near Threatened species in the United States and Canada and provides state- and province-specific species lists and resources to promote conservation action. It is our hope that this report can help guide future firefly research and conservation programs in the region, serve as a model for other regions, and act as a catalyst for conservationists, research scientists, and policy makers to develop strategic plans and prioritize funding to ensure the wellbeing and longevity of our native firefly fauna.
Authors: Candace Fallon, Anna Walker, Sara Lewis, and Sarina Jepsen