Firefly Guide

The Aowanda Forest Recreation Area is uniquely endowed with abundant and diverse forest ecological resources. Completely covered with vegetation and having a cool and humid climate environment, it is a natural habitat that is free from human disturbances such as the use of agricultural pesticides. Therefore, the area is a very conducive environment for firefly growth and reproduction. To date, 13 species of fireflies have been found even without the implementation of firefly restoration work, and the firefly resources are very rich and diverse. In the park, the emergence of adult fireflies is the most spectacular from April to May. Among them, the Luciola cerata Oliver fireflies account for the largest number of fireflies. Their mysterious and romantic display of sometimes flickering and sometimes bright and flitting and dancing in the underbrush of the forest, creates a dazzling night world in Aowanda. Gazing at bright and flickering fireflies spread all over the mountains and plains will surely touch our hearts.

  1. Just after the sun has set and the sky is turning dark, more fireflies will gradually emerge. They are most active from 7 to 9 in the evening. After 9 p.m., their flickering will ebb.
  2. From early April to late June each year is firefly season in flat to low-altitude mountainous areas.
  3. Choose a forest area that is more primitive and higher in humidity.
  4. The open ground around the edges of the forest is also a gathering place for fireflies.
  5. Choose a place that is more shaded from the moonlight and that has no light pollution.
  1. Wear long-sleeved clothes and long pants to avoid mosquito bites.
  2. Wear rain boots or canvas shoes, beat around the grass to scare off snakes, and do not go into the underbrush to avoid being bitten by snakes.
  3. Do not go up the mountain to watch fireflies after heavy rains or earthquakes to avoid the danger of landslides.
  4. Bring along a flashlight and cover the lampshade with red cellophane to minimize interference to the fireflies.
  5. Go in a group, walk slowly and do not run or stray from the group. Pay attention to your personal safety and the safety of others in the group.
  6. Do not make noise or create disturbances. Respect life and do not capture or take creatures back with you. Let them stay and meet you again next time.

Tips for distinguishing male and female fireflies.
Adult fireflies have two pairs of wings, a pair of antennae and two large shinning eyes on their head. They have a very keen sense of vision and live by sucking dew or nectar. There are light organs in the abdomen, located in two segments of the belly of the male firefly and in one segment of the female firefly. Some species of fireflies emit only two points of light while others do not emit light. So, not all fireflies glow.

Fireflies are light emitting small insects that are both beautiful and mysterious. There are 62 species of fireflies in Taiwan. They belong to the order of Coleoptera (beetles). They are fully metamorphic insects that must go through the lifecycle of egg, larva, pupa and adult. Their growth period is quite long. Most species take one year to complete a generation. The larva stage lasts about 10 months while the adult stage is brief, lasting only about 20 days.
After mating, fireflies begin looking for a place that is dark and has damp moss or soil to lay their eggs. The hatched larvae have a long and flat body, with two light organs at the end of their abdomen. They also have a tail foot that functions like a sucker. Based on their habitat, they can be classified into three types: terrestrial, aquatic and semi-aquatic. When the larvae grow up, they will pupate under fallen leaves or in the cracks of rocks. Some species even collect soil with their mouthparts to build a delicate vase-like pupa chamber, then wait quietly until it is time to emerge from their cocoon. The pupae of fireflies are exarate pupae. They are mostly milky white in color, and most species will glow.

The reason why fireflies emit light is that they have light organs on the rear section of their abdomen. This organ comprises light-emitting cells, reflective cells, transparent epidermis and the trachea. The glow is caused by the reaction of luciferin, luciferase and triphosphate with oxygen to produce a complex redox reaction, which produces bright light. Each species of fireflies emits light of different colors and frequencies. Male fireflies use the bright light to attract female fireflies for mating. The luminous efficiency of fireflies is extremely high. More than 90% of the energy is used to emit light, so it is called "cold light" because the light of the fireflies does not cause burns.