ಮಿಂಚುಹುಳುಗಳು: ಕಾಡಿನ ಹೊಳೆಯುವ ಆಭರಣಗಳು
Principal investigator: Dr. A.K. Chakravarthy
Project Associate: Mr Parvez
Fireflies are generally nocturnal, but a few species are diurnal. Beetles are found in tropical and temperate regions. The group interestingly exhibits diversity in life history and habits. The beetles are predominantly found in a tropical region, e.g., forest, wetlands, marshy lands, rivers, ponds, and every place that provides good moisture and humidity. For instance in India, the crest line of the peripheral region of Western Ghats is a compatible habitat for fireflies. All species of fireflies have a larval phase that glows. Larva of fireflies can be aquatic, semi-aquatic, and terrestrial. Fireflies are known worldwide with a wide variety of names including forest star, lighting bugs, fire devils, flying embers, moon bugs, glow flies, blinkers, etc. that makes them a potential flagship group for insect conservation. Each firefly has a unique courtship display. Females are double the size of males! Life cycle of fireflies is approximately one or two years, depending upon species, usually spending most of that time as larvae (Bess, 1956; Rosa, 2007; Ho et al., 2010; Viviani, Rosa and Martins, 2012). Primary diet of larvae are snails like Bradybaena semilaris, Bradybaena tenuissimus (Vivani et al. 2001) etc, slugs, ants, termites, earthworms, gastropods, and even decaying matter (Bushman, 1984; Rosa, 2007; Riley et al., 2021).
Fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) in the Asia-Pacific have been studied since most species were first recorded (Austin, 1924; Raj, 1947; and Ghosh, 2020). They are well recognized for their flashing adults, soft exoskeleton, lanterns, associated glow and adult traits. There are approximately 2400 described species in the world (except Antarctica) represented by 9 subfamilies (Riley et al. 2021 and Martin et al 2022). Fireflies rank among the most charismatic beetles, with distinctive bioluminescent courtship behaviour in adults. But surprisingly their larval stage is far less appreciated. Although, most of the time (1-2 years) they spend in their larval phase.
The fireflies are essential for stable ecosystem functioning as they are ecologically important. They are responsible for a growing Eco tourist attraction world-wide (Napompeth 2009, Lewis 2016), although, glow worms have been widely neglected in global conservation efforts. The greatest threat to fireflies is species loss caused primarily by habitat destruction, chemical pollution and ALAN (Artificial light at night), invasive species, and climate change (Hagen et al., 2015, Owens el al. 2019, Broeck et al. 2021, Chen et al. 2021). Afore mentioned threats, impact fireflies through effects on movement, development, foraging, reproduction and prediction risk (Owens el al. 2019). In consideration of the threats to fireflies, in 2010, a group of fireflies experts met in Malaysia and wrote “The Selangor Declaration on Firefly Conservation” (Fire flyers International Network 2012) which recommended action to preserve these beautiful creatures. Then, Fireflies Specialist Group was established by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) in 2018 to assess the conservation status and extinction risk to fireflies worldwide.
This study will identify the threats responsible for the declination of the firefly populations. A detailed checklist and key to Indian fireflies are also required. So, fireflies are of high conservation value and holistic effects are needed to preserve these and their ecosystem services, vis-à-vis the ecosystems itself.
For more information on Fireflies visit https://lesleyballantyne.com/how-to-be-a-taxonomist
CONTACT: Mr.Parvez, Project Associate
+91 88827 29904