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Assessment of firefly abundance at a new ecotourism site of Sungai Bernam, Selangor, Malaysia



Prior to this, no scientific documentation of firefly distribution and abundance along Sungai Bernam, Selangor has ever been reported. Therefore, this study provides a baseline information for the conservation of the firefly, Pteroptyx tener and its natural habitat as a new ecotourism site. This study was conducted nightly during two full moon and two new moon phases from February to April 2015, in which we surveyed the distribution and abundance (percentage cover estimation, PCE) of congregating fireflies along the riparian reserves of the study site. Vegetation assemblages at 40 display stations where adult fireflies congregated to mate along the river were also recorded. There are no significant differences in firefly abundance between the full moon and new moon phases (p>0.05), indicating that the tourists can visit the fireflies at any time of the month for 365 days a year.  The recorded data for male to female ratio is 3:1, indicating that the firefly population is not stable and prone to decline because lack of females would lead to decreasing fecundity and fertility rates. Thus, effort to increase the firefly population should be made, such as replanting of host plants along the degraded riverbanks. Colonies of the synchronizing fireflies congregated mainly on two estuarine species, namely Sonneratia caseolaris and Ficus sp. It is recommended that the primary host plant species, S. caseolaris, locally known as Berembang, should be replanted along the degraded riverbanks to attract the firefly colonies. There are no significant correlations (p>0.05) between the Percentage Cover Estimation of fireflies and specific abiotic parameters (i.e. temperature, relative humidity, wind, salinity, total dissolved solids and conductivity). For this part of Sungai Bernam to be developed as a new ecotourism site, it would require some mitigation measures aimed towards increasing the firefly population to sustain the local tourism industry.


distribution; abundance; Pteroptyx tener; Sungai Bernam; Sonneratia caseolaris; Ficus sp.

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