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Association between the synchronous firefly population and some biotic and abiotic factors along the Sungai Sepetang banks at Kampung Dew, Taiping, Perak, Malaysia

NORELA SULAIMAN, M. C. LOO, MAIMON ABDULLAH

Abstract


A study was conducted to determine the population distribution and abundance of synchronous fireflies and other arthropods along both banks of Sungai Sepetang at Kampung Dew, Taiping, Perak, and also to determine the correlations between the firefly abundance and some abiotic factors (relative humidity and air temperatures, wind speed and light intensity). A series of sampling visits were conducted at daytime and nighttime during the new moon phase of the six-month study period (October 2011 to March 2012). Fireflies and other arthropods were sampled by the sweeping method on the riparian vegetation and trees lining both banks of  Sungai Sepetang at ten selected sampling stations. Specific abiotic factors, i.e. relative humidity and air temperatures, wind speed and light intensity were also recorded in-situ during the sampling visits. Results of the study have successfully recorded a total of 2304 individuals representing 84 families of Arthropoda, with 983 individuals representing the firefly species Pteroptyx tener, and the potentially unstable population being indicated by the male to female ratio of 3:1. The diversity of arthropod families was relatively high at all the study stations (Shannon Weiner diversity index (H’) ranging from 1.77 - 2.55), and the most abundant and dominant order was Coleoptera, represented by 1254 individuals, while the highest number of families was in Diptera (29 families). The results showed that the main choice habitat of the fireflies comprised that of the berembang-nipah (Sonneratia caseolaris-Nypha fruticans) vegetation pattern, while the berembang (Sonneratia caseolaris) was the most favourite host tree for the fireflies in the study area. The abundance of arthropod populations showed significant negative correlations with air temperature (r = ˗0.915, p = 0.01), and significant positive correlations with relative air humidity (r = 0.88, p = 0.018) during the new moon phase, especially at night time. The ambient air temperature (27.6±0.7 oC) and relative air humidity (82.7±3.2 %) are most likely to influence the population abundance and distribution of fireflies and other arthropods along both banks of the Sepetang River at Kampung Dew, Taiping.  As a conclusion to our initial study, it is proposed that many aspects of abiotic and biotic factors should be investigated further to reveal their relationship with the firefly populations and with other vertebrate and invertebrate communities in the natural environment.

Keywords


Firefly, Pteroptyx tener, Lampyridae, abiotic, abundance

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