Tue, Apr 30, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Institute provides advice on how to spot fireflies

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Council of Agriculture’s Endemic Species Research Institute yesterday said now is the best time to observe fireflies in mountainous areas, but reminded the public not to damage the environment while observing them.

The institute recommended mountainous areas below altitudes of 1,500m, such as Greater Taichung’s Tungshih (東勢) and Sinshe (新社), Lienhuachih (蓮華池) and Taomi (桃米) in Nantou County and Choulan (卓蘭) and Ming-Te Reservoir (明德水庫) in Miaoli County, as good sites for observing fireflies.

Among the nation’s 63 varieties of firefly, the Luciola cerata Olivier that gives off a greenish-yellow glow is one of the most commonly-seen, said Ho Chien-jung (何健鎔), a section head at the institute.

Ho said a mature firefly has a lifespan of about two weeks, and mainly feeds on dew and tree sap.

The institute said that fireflies are more difficult to observe in rainy or foggy conditions, as well as on nights with a full moon, and it reminded visitors to cover flashlights with red cellophane to reduce the effects of light on the insects.

“Many visitors use smartphones to take pictures of the insects, but we do not recommend this because most mobile phone cameras are not capable of capturing images in such dim light and the camera’s flash will affect the fireflies,” Ho said,

Fireflies attract mates through the frequencies of flashes they emit, he said, adding that too much light from visitors’ flashlights or cameras will detrimentally affect the fireflies’ behavior.

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