Spontaneous flash communication of females in an Asian firefly

Hideo Takatsu, Mihoko Minami, Kei ichi Tainaka, Jin Yoshimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Fireflies are well known for the use of bioluminescence for sexual communication. In species using flash signals for pair formation, species and sexual identity are conferred by flash timing parameters such as flash duration, flash interval, flash number, and response delay. In dialog fireflies in North America, the male is the advertiser and the female is the responder. In these species, the male flash signal parameter varies depending on species, but the female flash signal parameter is limited only to response delay. However, in fireflies other than dialog fireflies, sexual flash communication is not well studied. Although many female-advertisement-like fireflies are reported, we have no confirmed case of sexual communication in a female-advertisement species. Here, we report the sexual flash communication of an Asian firefly, Luciola (Hotaria) parvula, in which the female flashes spontaneously. By using an electronic firefly, we confirm experimentally that males are specifically attracted to flashes with a female-specific flash duration. This is the first experimental report of sexual communication of a female advertiser in firefly communication. In this species, females call males usually with spontaneous flashes unlike dialog fireflies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ethology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept


  • Bioluminescence
  • Firefly
  • Flash signals
  • Luciola parvula
  • Sexual communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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