Fireflies on the way to extinction due to environmental degradation
By Sadia Noor Portia (7th semester – English Department,
Independent University, Bangladesh)
Fireflies are in great danger. Fireflies are also at risk of extinction, along with many other animals due to habitat loss and pesticides.
A research report on this topic was published on 03/02/2020 in the journal “Bioscience”.
The research report says that fireflies are mostly under threat due to artificial light. There are more than two thousand species of fireflies. They illuminate wetlands, grasslands, forests and urban gardens around the world.
According to Sara Lewis, a biologist at Tufts University, ‘Fireflies can survive anywhere. However, they need a special environment to survive. Some species are under threat of extinction because of this environmental degradation.’
Every year a large number of tourists travel to see the fireflies in the southern part of England, Malaysia, and the Appalachian region. Malaysia’s fireflies are the species of Pteroptyx tener.
The fireflies of this species live in the mangrove area. But as the number of the cultivation of palm trees and fish farms increases in the country, the fireflies are under threat.
Larvae are one of the foods of the fireflies in Mediterranean Spain. But because of the destruction of the wetlands, the intense lack of food has put the fireflies of that area in the crisis of existence. Besides, firefly does not sit in all trees at night.
The particular trees along the reservoir on which the fireflies used to sit have been cut off. At least 10 species of fireflies in East Asia and South America have already gone extinct.
According to Avalon Owens, a Ph.D. student at Tufts University, light pollution causes problems for the firefly’s breeding. And because of the obstacles to breeding, the number of fireflies is not increasing by the usual rules.
The male fireflies try to attract the female fireflies by creating a brighter light. But due to artificial light, the light of the male fireflies becomes dimmed. The life span of an adult firefly is just a few days. The duration of the larvae state of fireflies is the longest. But they survive only a short during the post-larval mature stage.
After light pollution the biggest enemy of the fireflies is pesticides. Pesticides used in agricultural fields also kill many animals like fireflies. However, pesticide companies do not comment on this when marketing their products.
Climate change is also one of the reasons behind the crisis in the firefly’s existence. Fireflies are losing fertility in the changing reality of climate.