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About Fireflies


(English below)


臺灣是生物多樣性相當豐富的國家,也是全球著名賞螢熱點之一,您知道嗎?全世界已記載的螢火蟲種類大約有2,000多種,而臺灣就占了其中大約65種。臺灣的螢火蟲密度在世界上名列前茅,僅次於牙買加和哥斯大黎加。

在竹湖生態園區,目前為止記錄到7種螢火蟲物種,其中有兩種不發光,還有一種在冬季可見。與10年前相比,螢火蟲季節變得越來越早。20到30年前,它們更加豐富,高達30,000只。季節也從三月延長到五月. 今年交配季節的豐富程度取決於前一年的天氣條件。根據當地的經驗,螢火蟲需要全年均勻而規律的降雨,才能在接下來的一年觀察到豐富的螢火蟲。乾旱和不規律的降雨會影響幼蟲的存活率,因此在接下來的一年中會看到較少的螢火蟲。在竹湖生態園區,螢火蟲喜歡吃蝸牛和蚯蚓。

螢火蟲是完全變態的鞘翅目昆蟲,一生需歷經卵、幼蟲、蛹和成蟲的四個成長階段。幼蟲多數為肉食性,以具有刺吸式大顎的口器捕捉獵物並進食。當幼蟲從卵孵化出來即為一齡幼蟲,之後每脫皮一次就會增加一齡;通常幼蟲需要經過5~7齡(因種類差別),才會化成蛹。

陸生螢火蟲的卵會產在陰暗潮濕的石縫、苔鮮或是土壤間隙,等幼蟲孵化後便在森林下層生長,待慢慢成熟後,開始鑽進隙縫或土壤中化蛹、羽化成蟲;而水生螢火蟲,牠的卵會產在水域邊潮濕水草、苔癬上,待幼蟲孵化後,再進到水裡捕食水中的中小型螺、貝類為食物,待發育成熟,會沿著水岸邊坡爬到陸地上,尋找潮濕、陰暗的地方建造蛹室、化蛹,以蛹的階段等待身體器官發育完成並羽化成成蟲後才會鑽出蛹室,尋找配偶交配繁衍下一代。

螢火蟲的雄蟲多數具有兩節發光器,完整的雙翅並擅長飛行,但雌蟲有三種形式:

第一,有翅型外觀與雄蟲相似,但體型通常較大,發光器為一節,例如:黑翅螢、大端黑螢等;

第二,短鞘型雌蟲翅鞘些許退化,但翅鞘仍然有蓋到些許腹部,例如:紋螢;

第三,無翅型雌蟲雙翅明顯退化,甚至完全不具翅,外觀有點像幼蟲,稱為「幼態持續」。

第二與第三種雌蟲無法飛行,只能在地面或草叢的高處發光,等待雄蟲前來交配,例如:山窗螢、鋸角雪螢等。



Did you know that Taiwan is rich in firefly biodiversity? Presently, 65 firefly species have been recorded including in the smaller islands. Densities of firefly are also one of the top in the world, after Jamaica and Costa Rica.


In Juhu Ecological Park, there are currently 7 recorded species, two of which do not glow, and one seen in winter. It is said that firefly season is becoming earlier and earlier compared to 10 years ago. They were more abundant, up to 30 thousands 20 to 30 years ago. The season laster longer and later from March to May. The current year's abundance during the mating season is dependent on the previous year's weather condition. According to local knowledge, fireflies need even and regular rainfall all throughout the year in order to observe abundant fireflies the next year. Periods of drought and uneven rainfall influences the survival rates of young fireflies, so that less would be seen the following year. In JEP, fireflies like to eat snails and worms.


Fireflies belong to the order Coleoptera. They undergo complete

metamorphosis, with four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Most larvae are carnivorous, having a large thorny jaw to capture prey and eat.

A newly hatched larva is in the first stage of development, and it progresses one

stage with each molting. Larvae usually undergo 5-7 moltings (depending on

species) before pupation occurs.

Terrestrial firefly eggs are laid within crevices in dark and damp stones, mosses,

or soils. Once larvae are hatched, they grow in the forest understory. As they

gradually mature, they begin entering into crevices or the soil to get ready for

pupation. Aquatic firefly eggs, on the other hand, are found near damp grass or

moss along waterways. Once larvae are hatched, they enter the water to

capture small or medium sized shellfish or snails as food. Once they mature,

they climb onto the ground, searching for damp and dark areas to pupate. The

stages of pupation allow the body organs to completely develop and wings to

grow, following which the insects emerge from the pupae to look for other

fireflies to mate with and produce the next generation.


Most male fireflies have two light-emitting organs with two complete sets of

wings to enable smooth flying, whereas female fireflies have three different

forms:

1. Winged – appearance is similar to that of male fireflies, but the body is

normally larger with only one light-emitting organ. Ex: Abscondita cerata and

Abscondita anceyi

2: Sheath-winged – wings are slightly less evolved, but still cover a certain area

of the abdomen. Ex: Luciola curtithorax

3. Wingless - wings are clearly degraded or even inexistent. Appearance

resembles that of a larva known as “Neoteny".

The second and the third types of females are flightless, and can only light up

on ground level or at the height of grass fields, waiting for male fireflies to mate

with them. Ex: Pyrocoelia praetexta and Diaphanes ampyroides.


Reference

(The pdf also has wonderful and easy to understand images)

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