Reported and potential bioluminescent species in Lithuania

  • Asta Malakauskienė
Keywords: bioluminescent, firefly, centipede, springtail, fungus, moss


Bioluminescent species are those producing and emitting light by chemical reactions and using it for a wide range of functions important for survival, hunting, camouflage, mating, recognition, and communication. Studies on Lithuanian bioluminescent species biodiversity are scarce. The aim of this study was to review available information about reported and potential (found near the borders of the neighbouring countries) bioluminescent (fireflies, fungi, centipedes, springtails), and luminescent (mosses) species in Lithuania. Available sources of literature on the diversity of Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish, and Belarusian bioluminescent species were studied, and folklore and verbal evidence of seen bioluminescent species were analysed as well. All collected information was generalized and presented as a list of Lithuanian bioluminescent species. The results showed that representatives of 26 different bioluminescent and one luminescent species may glow in the dark in Lithuania depending on the season, temperature, humidity, pH and oxygen presence in their environment: two reported and one potential (immigrating from Poland and Belarus) species of fireflies; recently reported one species of bioluminescent centipedes from the family of Geophilus; one potential species of bioluminescent springtail (reported in Latvia and Poland); 21 reported species of bioluminescent fungi; one reported species of luminescent moss. Glowing must be confirmed for two fungi species mentioned in folklore, also one species is found that does not glow in Lithuania but is bioluminescent in North America. Specimens of Chlorociboria sp. and Xylaria hypoxylon found in the Botanical Garden of Vytautas Magnus University did not glow, while Armillaria mellea glowed brightly emitting green light.
General Biology