Malaysia: Local and foreign visitors alike travel to Taiping village to watch fireflies

The Star 19 Feb 16;

TAIPING: Kampung Dew in Taiping may not appear any different from other villages in Perak.

However, the presence of thousands of fireflies creating a nature’s light show at night makes the place worth visiting.

Local and foreign visitors alike travel to the village located about 100km from Ipoh just to see these insects up close.

Fireflies (scientific name Pteroptyx tener) are special as the lower part of their abdomen emits a green light that flashes about three times per second.

When the flashes of the insects are synchronised, they create an enchanting light show at night.

Male fireflies emit a brighter glow than the females. Fireflies have a lifespan of only six to seven months.

Fireflies inhabit the berembang tree (Sonneratia caselaris), feeding off the tree’s sap.

The mesmerising display of lights is best experienced from 7.30pm until late night, except when it is raining. The fireflies prove to be quite tame when visitors try to catch them.

Kampung Dew Firefly Eco-Tourism Association secretary Shukor Ishak said the jetty that began operating in 2000 has received not only locals but also tourists from Taiwan, China, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Europe.

Last year, a total of 12,000 tourists came to the village.

“There are usually more visitors on weekends. There was a time we had some 1,800 visitors who came to see fireflies within a month,” he added.

Nineteen-year-old Henna Savenias from Finland said she has seen fireflies before in other countries but those in Malaysia were smaller and shone brighter.

“They are different and very beautiful. I’m excited to see the fireflies, it’s truly an exciting ­experience,” she said. — Bernama

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