Henry Fairfield Osborn, a
famous American naturalist, once wrote that nature is an
" active, purposeful, coordinated machine. Each park is
dependent of he whole. Forests, grasslands, soils,
water, animal life; without one of these, the earth will
die, will become dead as the moon." Fireflies are part
of a bigger picture, as is everything else in nature.
Let the fireflies' living
environment remain forever in it's natural state. Not
only will this benefit all flora and fauna of the area.
Generally, what is good for the fireflies will also be
good for the people. The decreasing numbers in the
firefly population serve as a symbol, a beacon, which is
flashing an alarm to save not only them, but rivers too.
our rivers are home to these priceless creatures, and
when we act with ignorance or unconcern, it is imminent
that we will lose one of our greatest national treasure.
A Fireflies True Experience
As the boat slowly glides
down the river on a moonless night, a flicker of light
appears. It suddenly grows into a brilliant display with
thousands more lights illuminating the trees lining the
riverbanks. Imagine decorative Christmas lights or a
galaxy of stars twinkling right in front of you. This is
the light show of the fireflies. It is an experience of
a lifetime, and it' is being threatened by many factors.
The firefly is a type of
insect from the beetle family. They flash in the night
for the purpose of attracting mates and generating
birth. The flashing behaviour begins just after sunset,
and continues till just before sunrise.
The light is produced
inside the firefly by two chemicals mixing with each
other and oxygen in the process called bioluminescence.
The firefly is one of the only three out-of-water
species that has this remarkeble feature (the other two
are a worm and a type of fungus). One of the firefly
species found here is unique in that it blinks in sync.
Malaysia is the only one of the few places in the world
where this kind of firefly colonies are still found.
Important of Fireflies
Chemicals found in
fireflies are needed in the advancement of medicine and
science throughout the worlds. They are used in research
on cancer, multiple sclerosis and heart disease.
Detectors, using these chemicals, have been places in
spacecrafts to look for life forms in outer space. other
detectors warn of food or water contamination by
bacteria. The bioluminescence process of the firefly is
applier in the study of muscular dystrophy, urology,
antibiotic testing, wastewater treatment and
In addition to it's medical
and scientific value, our fireflies have high value for
eco-tourism. They have generated worldwide interest and
serve as a unique attraction to foreign nature lovers.
By boosting out tourism industry, this natural
phenomenon helps contribure to the national economy. for
villages where firefly colonies are found, the revenue
from tourism become a good side income. It has
contributed towards improving the financial status ans
lifestyle of there villages.
Habitat and Food
Fireflies live in
intertidal zones. The synchronous on mangrove trees that
grow wildly along riverbanks. These trees, known locally
as berembang, are the only known mangrove species to
have an ecological role as a habitat for fireflies to
dwell on at night. Fireflies are also dependent on this
tree for food. The adult fireflies take in the dew that
forms on the leaves, while their larvae feed on snails
found in the mud below.
The fireflies are
dependent completely on the berembang trees, on which
they live on and get their food source ) which are the
snails, which also depends on the berembang.). But of
course, the berembang trees are dependent on the
river. If it is polluted or there is saltwater
intrusion, then the berembang tree also suffer. With the
lives of the fireflies and the berembang trees
delicately interconnected to the river, every care has
to be taken to sustain the river and it's surrounding
The Key To
The Aztecs used the
term firefly symbolically, meaning a spark of knowledge
in a world of ignorance. This brings up an effective way
that will help the fireflies' flight for survival. To
achieve enduring preservation of the firefly and it's
living environment, it is necessary to educate children
and their parents respect nature. One way is to teach
our children not just reading, writing and arithmetic,
but how to be young environmentalists.