"Firefly" is actually not a fly. It is a beetle.

On the subject of Firefly, there are also instances of mistaken identities. Common misnomer are that they are considered as falling within the same genetic group with insects that produces light and those that looks like Firefly Beetle.  First, glow worms that are not larvae of Firefly, then there is another insect that mimic the firefly but without light source. 

Some facts about the Kuala Selangor  Fireflies   Species found in Kuala Selangor.  

In Sungei Selangor area, there is this stretch with high concentration of a single species, the Pteroptyx tener - one of those that practices synchronized flashing.  In other parts of the river, more species like Pteroptyx sp. were found co-habiting with these beetle.

This beetle [Firefly] in the  class of Insecta, falls under the main order of Coleoptera, then in the family of Lampyridae  and finally the various species, sub-species and variants. Now, there are about 2000 identified types worldwide.  In Malaysia, there are about 29 identified species. These beetles are well distributed in the cool highlands and the low wetlands, estuary belts.


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A picture of fireflies matting

Any reasons why the beetle needs the lamp? What do they feed on? 


Nesting place

These Beetles needs damp grassy wetlands that support large varieties of other insects, particularly snails. Then the adults associate themselves with large trees that are filled with rich foliages. Such environments can be equated with  those seen in estuaries in the lowlands,  valleys and gullies of the forested highlands.

More example is that Firefly stays on the banks of river and canals. Stretches with dry land coupled with soft clay. Mangrove forest and where intertidal water washes the bank. Such situations are the most conducive. 

The female lays their eggs in the soil.

The Larvae tapers on both ends with small head -the length lesser than it width, lives among the debris's of the wooded wetland  floor, wet places or under barks of trees.

This chosen breeding ground supports a food chain of worms and snails. The carnivorous larvae will not go hungry.

 Feeding is mostly done in the larvae  stage as the adult are voracious [do not feed] Perhaps that could also account for the syndrome where the larvae stage extends over months while the adult are short lived.

Most adult fireflies are found on grass blades by day.


They will remain there up till an hour before dusk . While females of many species of Fireflies are wingless and flashes from the ground, those in Kuala Selangor in Malaysia are equipped to fly and flashes from their perching position among the foliages.

A picture of the male adult.

This species seen in the Selangor River belongs to the group that also practice synchronized or rhythmic flashing. They are seen in the Indian Continent and eastwards, down to South east up to the Philippines and New Guinea.

At dusk, the beetles emerge from their grassland home and adjoin to their nocturnal domain.

This is their gathering points and also that resulted in the scene of the display tree.

What type of tree is attracts or most preferred by Fireflies?

All types of tree. But Mangrove trees of all species, have the highest density of beetles' gathering. Among them one particular species seems to be the most proffered.

Food for the fireflies 

This is the Sonneratia caseolaris flower in bloom. The  flower is pollinated by nocturnal bats. As mentioned earlier, adult Fireflies do not feed that much. Then why the largest gathering is seen on this tree.


  The leaves for the tree are well perforated - a sign that some insects is draining of its saps

These are mysteries that I have not found the answer.

Scenes as perceived by  Wanderbug - log on for more

Watching Fireflies in Malaysia