NTU conservation project releases 1,200 firefly larvae back into wild

12/23/2021 03:44 PM
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NTU President Kuan Chung-ming (left) releases firefly larvae into an on-campus farm Wednesday. Photo courtesy of NTU
NTU President Kuan Chung-ming (left) releases firefly larvae into an on-campus farm Wednesday. Photo courtesy of NTU

Taipei, Dec. 23 (CNA) A National Taiwan University (NTU) firefly conservation project that seeks to teach people about the effects of human activity on local ecology released 1,200 Aquatica ficta larvae donated by Taipei Zoo into an on-campus farm on Wednesday.

Aquatica ficta is a critically endangered firefly species mostly found in Taiwan residing in still water and rice paddies.

According to NTU President Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), it is rare to see fireflies in Taiwan's cities due to urbanization, but with funds donated by NTU alumni and the help of Taipei Zoo, they are working on restoring Taipei's insect population at the university's on-campus farm.

NTU said in a press release that the campus planning team and the NTU farm divided the biodiversity conservation project into three stages.

The first step was to create a clean hydrophilic habitat for the Aquatica ficta, after which snails were introduced into the habitat in August as a food source for the fireflies.

Then, after nearly four months of maintenance, the ecosphere created at the NTU farm was ready to accept the larvae donated by Taipei Zoo.

Taipei Zoo's Deputy Director Chu Shiao-fen (朱孝芬) said that Aquatica ficta were able to breed for two generations a year in the wild and three generations in captivity.

She said the zoo was honored to participate in the restoration project and hoped it could bring students' attention to ecological and environmental issues.

The campus expects to see the larvae hatch into Aquatica ficta fireflies next April.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and intern Amber Wu)

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