Protecting the Delicate Glow of Fireflies with Smart Lights! The Hsinchu Branch of the Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency (FANCA) has collaborated with Leotek Corporation, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for industry-government-academia cooperation on the conservation of Matsu’s Rhagophthalmus firefly species.

To conserve the rare and valuable firefly population in Matsu, the Hsinchu Branch of the FANCA, in collaboration with Leotek Corporation, Lienchiang County Government, and Chinese Culture University, jointly signed an MOU for the “Matsu Rhagophthalmus Firefly Conservation Project” on March 6. Through cooperation among government agencies, academia, and industry, the project aims to reduce the impact of light sources on fireflies using ecological smart lighting systems, illuminating the light of conservation.

The Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency stated that there are two endemic species of Rhagophthalmus fireflies, R. beigansis and R. giallolateralus, in the Matsu region, which are particularly rare and valuable. Unlike most fireflies that fly at night and have females emitting light to attract mates, the males of this species emit very little light. Furthermore, the females lack wings and can only move along the ground. Therefore, the females are threatened due to their unique ecological habits. In response, the Lienchiang County Government announced the establishment of the ‘Matsu Islands Rhagophthalmidae Firefly Wildlife Refuge’ on May 3, 2022, and has been actively engaged in the conservation efforts for Rhagophthalmus fireflies.

According to research data from the Chinese Culture University team over the years, there are only about 200 specimens of R. giallolateralus and fewer than 100 of R. beigansis remaining in the Matsu region. Moreover, there is a declining trend in the number of fireflies in some of the islands. This decline is attributed not only to possible interference caused by excessively bright streetlights near roads, but also because the wavelength of the streetlights overlaps with the light emitted by Rhagophthalmus fireflies. According to the research team’s observations, female fireflies cease to emit light when exposed to streetlights, significantly affecting their courtship behavior.

To conserve these rare and valuable species, the Hsinchu Branch of the FANCA, in collaboration with the Lienchiang County Government, has planned to gradually replace existing streetlights to reduce their impact on the Rhagophthalmus firefly population. In 2024, both agencies will also take part in the Taiwan Ecological Network (TEN), partnering with Leotek Corporation to participate in conservation efforts. Through the company’s innovative “ECOridge Smart Lighting System,” the sole one of its kind in Taiwan, they are planning and installing a fully ecological smart lighting system suitable for the native habitats of Rhagophthalmus fireflies. This system aims to reduce the impact of light sources on these fireflies while meeting the local demand for road lighting.

With the attendance of Lin Hwa-Ching, Director General of the FANCA, and various distinguished guests, the Hsinchu Branch of the FANCA, the Lienchiang Government, the Department of Forestry and Nature Conservation of Chinese Culture University, and Leotek Corporation jointly signed the MOU for the Matsu Rhagophthalmus Firefly Conservation Project. This collaboration signifies a collective effort involving government, industry, academia, and the public to invest in ecological conservation, aiming to fulfill the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity and move towards a vision of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.
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Visit counts:55 Last updated on:2024-05-20