Fire Beetle (Pyrophorus noctilucus)


Pyrophorus noctilucus
Common Names
Fire Beetle or Cucujo
Average Size
1.75 inch (4.4 cm)

A pair of iridescent green sacs on its pronotum. The sacs when filled with its venom, emit a bright glow, not unlike a small LED diode. These sacs serve a dual purpose, the Fire Beetle attracts other insects toward it before it leaps and utilizes its limited flight mobility.

When the prey is within the Fire Beetle's range, the venom which has accumulated in the sacs is expelled in a fine cloud of mist which temporarily paralyzes the prey. Acting quickly, the Fire Beetle uses its mandibles to crush the prey, before it emerges from its paralyzed state. Once the victim has died, the Fire Beetle sprays a concentrated stream of venom, which softens and sometimes erodes the exoskeleon. Then, burrowing its mandibles into the victim, the Fire Beetle feeds on the internal organs, but discards the rest of the carcass.

The Fire Beetle must feed like this once per (4) hours, as the energy exerted in its constant hunt is remarkable. The deadly hunter of the insect world pose minimal threat to humans, however. The Fire Beetle's venom is far too weak to pose a threat if ingested, and even though it is corrosive, it will only cause a minor burn or rash on the much tougher human epidermis. Though, if the venom were to make contact with the iris, blindness can occur.