The fascinating findings of a meticulous study is shared in the latest issue of Wetlands, a magazine of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
The team, led by Chan Su Hooi, painstakingly recorded all aspects of the insect's life cycle from egg laying to the final adult stage. Volunteer Colleen Goh also shares how she produced the stunning photos that document the tiniest details of these insects! Wow!
The firefly is not a fly. It is a beetle. That produces a glowing twinkle of bioluminescence. Massed together, the glow of many beetles in mangrove trees is an enchanting night sight. The fireflies of Kuala Selangor are famed for synchronously lighting up mangrove trees along the river.
Most of the life of this creature is spent as an unwinking ugly worm-like larvae that lives underground or beneath leaf litter eating little snails for 2-3 months. To conserve and encourage fireflies in our mangroves, we need to also protect the snails that the larvae feed on, and other aspects that affect the snails and the larvae. The story of the fireflies highlight the importance of a holistic approach to conservation. We can't save just the interesting and beautiful, without protecting everything else including the rather icky and seemingly uninteresting.
Here's more about the fireflies of Kuala Selangor which alas, are facing many threats.
- The fading glow of the fireflies in Kuala Selangor, Malaysia Chai Mei Ling New Straits Times 22 Aug 10;
- "Firefly colonies in Malaysia are disappearing even before they are identified" Keeping the lights on, Sharmilla Ganesa, The Star 16 Feb 10;
- Devastation of mangrove swamps in Selangor, Malaysia Geetha Krishnan, The Star 9 Jul 09;
- No more fireflies in six months? Christina Tan, The Star 7 May 09;
- Habitat loss in Kuala Selangor's firefly colony Hilary Chiew The Star 21 Apr 09;
- Fireflies lose sparkle as mangroves come down in Sungai Selangor Elan Perumal, The Star 10 Mar 09;
Where do the dogs come from? What is being done about them? Read the article to find out more.
Also in this issue, more about the Sungei Buloh Master Plan and the launch of "Wetlands in a City" the latest book by Dr Chua Ee Kiam.
The featured volunteer this month is Law Hock Ling who has been training volunteers and conducting talks such as this inspring one that I attended.
Download the latest Wetlands magazine!