If humans are no longer restrained, chasing fireflies on summer nights will only be a childhood memory for some people. According to a new study published in Biosciences, the world’s population of more than 2,000 fireflies is declining due to artificial light pollution, pesticides and reduced habitat area.
A team of scientists and conservationists, led by Tufts University, investigated the threat of fireflies around the world. According to the study, one of the main threats to fireflies in East Asia and South America is artificial light. Street and building lights disrupt the insect’s natural biological rhythms and mating rituals.
Fireflies (actually beetles) glow to attract mates, but they can easily mistake artificial lights for potential mates. Adult fireflies usually live only a few days, and their populations decline dramatically because they don’t have enough time to find a mate.
Humans who destroy the insect’s natural habitat pose another threat. During its larvae, Malaysian fireflies (pterosaurs) lived in riverside shrubbery, which was often cut down by artificial farms. In Europe, as a result of the urbanization of what was once orchards and farmland, the Lampyris iberica fireflies received significantly less food. In Malaysia, adult wingfirefliets, who usually prefer to mate in specific trees along the river, have to look for new courting areas because the trees by the river are often cut down.
“Organophosphate syltos and neonicotinoids are designed to kill pests, but they also have a off-target effect on beneficial insects,” the study said. “The study found that the use of pesticides and pesticides can also harm fireflies, and specifically the risks of “new fern” pesticides used by U.S. farmers to grow corn and soybeans. In addition, firefly eco-tours are also a factor in putting fireflies at risk, and in recent years they have become increasingly popular, attracting more than 200,000 pilgrimages a year.