Fireflies live in various habitats. Many species thrive in forests, fields or the margins between them. Some live in more arid areas, but they typically follow the rainy season. Fireflies are found all over the world, from North and South America to Europe and Asia.
Most firefly species have one thing in common: standing water. They live near ponds, streams, marshes, rivers and lakes, but they don’t need a lot of water to get by. Vernal pools and small depressions that hold water during firefly mating season can all provide the habitat fireflies need. Most firefly species live at the margins where forest or field meet water.
Scientists aren’t completely sure what most species of fireflies eat. It’s probable that firefly larvae feed on different prey from that of adult fireflies. The larvae are believed to be carnivorous, living off smaller insects, snails and slugs. Adult fireflies may also live on other insects, as well as pollen and plants, but it’s possible that some species don’t eat anything—their lifespan is only a few weeks long. But scientists believe fireflies thrive in wet areas because their prey does as well—including other insects and insect larvae, slugs and snails.
Fireflies love humid, warm environments. In the U.S., almost no species of fireflies are found west of Kansas—although there are also warm and humid areas to the west. Nobody is sure why this is. There are many species of fireflies throughout the world, and the most diversity in species is found in tropical Asia as well as Central and South America.
Fireflies also love long grass. They’re nocturnal, and during the day they spend most of their time on the ground. At night, they crawl to the tops of blades of grass and fly into tree branches to signal for mates. Long grass conceals the fireflies better and allows them a better vantage point for signaling at night, and over-mowing your lawn may disturb your firefly population.