Do you recall the last time you spotted fireflies/glow worms? In urban cities, they are no longer visible and even in rural areas, they are fast dwindling. This is not an issue exclusive to India, as fireflies are swiftly vanishing from all corners of the globe. It is a cause for concern as we are no longer gifted with the sight of these tiny creatures illuminating the night sky.
Beautiful and Amazing Insect glow worm
It may come as a shock to discover that fireflies make up around 40% of all insects and moths in the world. Fireflies emit a soft glow in the night due to bioluminescence, a chemical reaction that occurs when oxygen and an element called luciferin combine in the firefly’s body.
Belonging to the Lampiridae family of the Coleoptera order, fireflies have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. Remarkably, there are around 2000 species of glow worms that inhabit the world, apart from Antarctica. In India, they were once found in abundance, and had different names in different parts of the country. Unfortunately, fireflies are now on the brink of extinction.
If you spot fireflies twinkling around you, it’s a sign that your environment is liveable. Fireflies are incredibly sensitive to their surroundings, so they can only thrive in places where the air, water and soil are free of toxic pollutants. If you see them, you can rest assured that your environment is healthy and supportive of life.
The rapid deforestation of villages has caused the areas once filled with grass and shrubs to be cleared away. In 2018, a report by Ecology and Evolution pointed to light pollution as a culprit in the disappearance of glow worms. As trees and shrubs offer protection from the light pollution, their diminishing numbers are taking away the stars of the night – the fireflies.
A 12 year-long research report published in 2016 discovered that fireflies are most abundant in the spring time due to the extra moisture present. However, for the last few years, these fireflies have not been seen and the coming generations may only be able to read about them in books or watch them in videos.
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