Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2020-05-15
Page range: 561–570
Abstract views: 114
PDF downloaded: 11

Morphology of immature stages of Pyrearinus pumilus (Candèze, 1863 (Coleoptera: Elateridae: Pyrophorini): the click beetle responsible for the luminous canga caves in the state of Pará, Brazil

Universidade Federal de Itajubá, Instituto de Recursos Naturais, Av. BPS, 1303, CEP 37500-903, Itajubá-MG, Brazil
Programa de Pós-graduação em Biotecnologia e Monitoramento Ambiental, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, campus Sorocaba, Sorocaba-SP, Brazil.
Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Nazaré, 481, CEP 04263-000 São Paulo-SP, Brazil
Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Nazaré, 481, CEP 04263-000 São Paulo-SP, Brazil
Coleoptera Bioluminescence ferruginous cave firefly Neotropical Region termite nest


The Pyrearinus pumilus species group from South America includes luminescent click beetles (Agrypninae: Pyrophorini) associated with the phenomena of “luminescent termite mounds” and “luminous canga caves”. The latter was recently reported in the state of Pará, Brazil. This group includes six species based on the morphology of adults, of which two have immature stages already described. In this work we present the morphology and biological aspects of mature larva and pupa of Pyrearinus pumilus (Candèze, 1863), from the canga caves. Moreover, we provide a key and illustrations for identification of male adults and the known larvae. Our study shows that: (1) morphological characters of immatures support the close relationship of P. pumilus with their allies in the P. pumilus species group; (2) the traits of the known larvae of the P. pumilus species group are reliable for species identification.



  1. Bechara, E.J.H. (1988) Luminescent elaterid beetles: Biochemical, biological and ecological aspects. In: Baumstark, A.L. (Ed.), Advances in oxygenated process. JAI Press, London, pp. 539–542.

    Bechara E.J.H. & Stevani, C.V. (2018) Brazilian Bioluminescent Beetles: Reflections on Catching Glimpses of Light in the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 90 (1), Supplement 1, 663–679.

    Bi, W.-X., He, J.-W., Chen, C.-C., Kundrata, R & Li, X.-Y. (2019) Sinopyrophorinae, a new subfamily of Elateridae (Coleoptera, Elateroidea) with the first record of a luminous click beetle in Asia and evidence for multiple origins of bioluminescence in Elateridae. ZooKeys 864, 79–­97.

    Carmo, F.F., Carmo, F.F., Salgado, A.A.R. & Jacobi, C.M. (2011) Novo sítio espeleológico em sistemas ferruginosos, no Vale do Rio Peixe Bravo, Norte de Minas Gerais, Brasil. Espeleo-Tema, 22 (1), 25–39.

    Casari-Chen, S.A. & Costa, C. (1986) Larvas de Coleoptera da Região Neotropical XV. Revisão de Pyrophorini (Elateridae, Pyrophorinae) Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 30 (2), 323–357.

    Colepicolo-Neto, P., Costa, C. & Bechara, E.J.H. (1986) Brazilian species of luminescent Elateridae: Luciferin identification and bioluminescence spectra. Insect Biochemistry, 16, 803–810.

    Costa, C. (1975) Systematics and evolution of the tribes Pyrophorini and Heligmini with description of Campyloxeninae, a new subfamily. Arquivos de Zoologia, 26 (2), 49–190.

    Costa, C. (1978) Sistemática e Bionomia de Pyrearinus Costa, 1975 (Coleoptera, Elateridae). Arquivos de Zoologia, 20 (4), 185–236.

    Costa, C. (1982) Pyrearinus termitilluminans sp. n., with description of the immature stages (Coleoptera, Elateridae, Pyrophorini). Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 1 (1), 23–30.

    Costa, C. (1984) Note on the bioluminescence of Balgus schnusei (Heller, 1974) (Trixagidae, Coleoptera). Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 28 (4), 397–398.

    Costa, C. & Vanin, S.A. (2010) Coleoptera Larval fauna associated with termite nests (Isoptera) with emphasis on the “Bioluminescent Termite Nests” from Central Brazil. Psyche, 2010 (Article ID 723947), 1–12.

    Kawada, R. & Buffington, M.L. (2016) A scalable and modular dome illumination system for scientific microphotography on a budget. PLoS One, 11 (5), e0153426.

    Redford, K.H. (1982) Prey attraction as a possible function of bioluminescence in the larvae of Pyrearinus termitilluminans (Coleoptera: Elateridae). Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 1 (1), 31–34.

    Rosa, S.P., Costa, C. & Higashi, N. (2010) New data on the natural history and description of the immatures of Fulgeochlizus bruchi, a bioluminescent beetle from Central Brazil (Elateridae, Pyrophorini). Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 50 (41), 365–641.

    Rosa, S.P., Albertoni, F.F. & Bená, D.C. (2015) Description of the immature stages of Platycrepidius dewynteri Chassain (Coleoptera, Elateridae, Agrypninae, Platycrepidiini) from Brazil with a synopsis of the larval characters of Agrypninae tribes. Zootaxa, 3914 (3), 318–330.

    Rosa, S.P., Németh, T. & Kundrata, R. (2019) Comparative morphology of immature stages of Ludioctenus cyprius (Baudi di Selve, 1871) (Coleoptera: Elateridae: Agrypninae), with discussion on the monophyly of Hemirhipini. Zoologischer Anzeiger, 283, 33–39.

    Viviani, V.R. & Amaral, D.T. (2016) First report of Pyrearinus larvae (Coleoptera: Elateridae) in clayish canga caves and luminous termite mounds in the Amazon Forest with a preliminary molecular-based phylogenetic analysis of the P. pumilus group. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 109 (4), 534–541.

    Zacharuk, R.Y. (1962) Sense organs of the head of larvae of some Elateridae (Coleoptera): their distribution, structures and innervation. Journal of Morphology, 111, 1–33.