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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Firefly Extinction: The Gentle Light Could Soon Be Extinguished Forever

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We could soon lose sight of the bright sparkles flying around in our backyards at night. Pollution, loss of habitat, and the use of pesticides make firefly extinction a reality in the near future.

The insects are common throughout the world and create a magical world with their twinkling bodies. But the changes in the environment may soon lead to their disappearance. Firefly extinction may take away these magical creatures of which there are 2,000 or more species.

The loss of habitat is affecting almost all wild species of birds, insects, and animals. And one major factor affecting them and causing firefly extinction is the disruption in the insect’s life cycle. The firefly needs precise environmental conditions to breed.

Professor Sara Lewis, at Tufts University, says that the Malaysian variant (Pteroptyx tener) requires mangroves to breed and thrive. But all across Malaysia, the mangroves are disappearing, giving way to aquaculture farms and palm plantations.

Artificial Lights Lead To Firefly Extinction

Another serious issue leading to firefly extinction is artificial lights. The skies of the cities and towns are constantly bright even at night. This interferes with the process of reproduction, as fireflies use the light they emit to attract mates.

While the direct light affects the fireflies in the cities and towns, the diffuse illumination which is visible beyond them is just as bright and interferes with the firefly’s natural breeding process. This has been proven by satellite data that has revealed that the expanding footprint of electric light is slowly covering the whole night world.

Read: Mass Extinction: Explaining The Past Events And Anticipating The 6th One

The fireflies use the light created by a chemical reaction in their bodies, called bioluminescence to attract their mates. Experts have warned that a large number of the  2,000 types of fireflies could soon be extinct. And urbanization, agricultural intensification, and industrialization will be the leading factors causing firefly extinction.

The use of pesticides also affects the larva and is also contributing to firefly extinction. The juveniles can spend 2 years before they emerge from the ground. The magical firefly perhaps is the one insect that is universally loved around the world.




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