Center for Systematic Entomology, Gainesville, Florida


Date of this Version



Keller O. 2022. On the firefly (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) species of Carl Linnaeus. Insecta Mundi 0962: 1–5.


Published on December 2, 2022 by Center for Systematic Entomology, Inc. P.O. Box 141874 Gainesville, FL 32614-1874 USA

Copyright held by the author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons, Attribution Non-Commercial License


The firefly species described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 and 1767 (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) were checked to determine the actual dates of publication. Nine out of twelve species were originally described in 1758 and not in 1767 as published in the majority of firefly literature. Lampyris hespera Linnaeus, 1767 as a junior synonym of Aspisoma lampyris (Linnaeus, 1758) is established.

Se revisaron las especies de luciérnagas descritas por Carl Linnaeus in 1758 y 1767 (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) para la determinación de fechas de publicación. Nueve de las doce especies fueron originalmente descritas en 1758 y no en 1767 como aparece publicado en la mayoría de la literatura de luciérnagas. Se establece Lampyris hespera Linnaeus, 1767 cómo sinónimo de Aspisoma lampyris (Linnaeus, 1758).

Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy and binomial nomenclature, described over 12,000 species of animals and plants in the 10th edition of his monumental work Systema Naturae (Linnaeus 1758). Nine of these species were fireflies which were described in the genus Cantharis Linnaeus. After Geoffroy (1762) described the genus Lampyris, Linnaeus (1767) moved the nine species into Lampyris and also described three new species for a total of 12 species of fireflies described by him. In over 90% of the published taxonomic literature on fireflies, the wrong date of description (1767) is used for the species described in 1758. Lampyris hespera Linnaeus, 1767 was found to be a junior synonym of Aspisoma lampyris (Linnaeus, 1768), which is here established.

This paper is a continuation of efforts to deal with nomenclatural mistakes (Keller and Branham 2018a, b, c; Ballantyne and Keller 2021; Keller 2021; Keller and Ballantyne 2021) continued throughout the last 264 years of firefly literature (e.g. Olivier 1910; McDermott 1966; Ballantyne et al. 2019; Keller and Branham 2021; Pérez-Hernández et al. 2022) and current online databases such as the Integrated Taxonomic Information System ( In this paper I evaluate every species described by Linnaeus and provide the correct date of description and additional remarks if necessary.