Fireflies in Italy

The Italian check list “Fauna d’Italia” published in 1995 includes a list of 21 fireflies species (Audisio et al., 1995) but the catalogue proposed by the European Project does not comply with it, since it includes fewer species. The here reported list includes 16 species according to the European Project  (deJong, 2014) plus Lamprohiza boieldieui and Lampyris vesuvius, which makes 18 species altogether. Even if this number is not comparable with the one of tropical regions, it is remarkable in the European scenario where Italy can boast of a  rich firefly community thanks to the variety of its climate, altitude and geography.

It has to be noted that the list includes several endemic species, whose distribution is restricted to the many little Italian islands or specific small areas in the peninsula. Therefore special care should be promoted about the conservation of those endemic species or subspecies, given the restricted area where they can be recorded.

Luciola lusitanica (female). Credits: Giuseppe Camerini.

Among endemic species, first of all Lampyris sardiniae has to be cited (De Cock & Geishardt, 2007)Other endemic species belonging to genus Lampyris can be recorded on Italian islands and in southern regions: Lampyris ambigena, Lampyris brutia, Lampyris fuscata apuliaeLampyris lareynii maculata. The genus Nyctophila also includes endemic species (N. bonvouloirii N.calabriae). One more endemic species is Lamprohiza foliacea, recorded in Sardinia.

It follows a table summarizing the list of species recorded in Italy.

Lampyris larva. Credits: Giuseppe Camerini.
Nyctophila (Olivier, 1884)Nyctophila bonvouloiriiSicilyEndemic
Nyctophila calabriaeSouthEndemic (1)
Nyctophila molestaNorth(2)
Lampyris (Geoffroy, 1762)Lampyris ambigenaSicilyEndemic
Lampyris brutiaSouthEndemic (3)
Lampyris fuscataSouthEndemic (4)
Lampyris fuscata fuscata
Lampyris fuscata apuliae
Lampyris lareyniiSouthEndemic
Lampyris lareynii maculataElba, Giglio, Ponziane islands
Lampyris noctilucaNorth, South, Sicily
Lampyris raymondiNorth, South, Sardinia
Lampyris sardiniaeSardiniaEndemic (5)
Lampyris sardiniae sardiniae
Lampyris sardiniae brunnea
Lampyris vesuviusCampania, Ponziane Islands
Lampyris vesuvius vesuvius
Lampyris vesuvius insularis
Lamprohiza (Motschulsky, 1852)Lamprohiza boieldieuiNorth
Lamprohiza foliaceaSardiniaEndemic
Lamprohiza morioSouth
Lamprohiza splendidulaNorth, South
Phosphaenus (Laporte Castelnau, 1833)Phosphaenus hemipterusNorth
Luciola (Laporte Castelnau, 1833)Luciola italicaNorth, South,
Sicily, Sardinia
Luciola lusitanicaNorth, South
Italian fireflies. South: Sothern Italy; North: Northern (and central) Italy.
(1) Nyctophila calabriae: only Calabria.
(2) Nyctophila molesta: only Piemonte.
(3) Lampyris brutia: nota di Calabria.
(4) Lampyris fuscata: the ssp. apuliae was recorded only in the Penisola Salentina (Apulia).
(5) Lampyris sardiniae: the ssp. brunnea was recorded only in Asinara island (Sardinia).