Contact: Kim Thurler
Caption: This is a male Photinus firefly that failed to successfully transfer a spermatophore -- or nuptial gift -- during mating. The spermatophore is trailing from male reproductive tract. While a female's initial assessment of potential mates is based on males' luminescent flashes, research by Tufts University biologists reveals that once a pair makes contact, flashes no longer matter. Instead, it's those males that have larger nuptial gifts to give that win out with higher reproductive success.
Credit: Tufts University
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Related news release: Romancing the firefly