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New species of aquatic firefly discovered in Keelung

04/10/2024 06:28 PM
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Photo courtesy of Wild Bird Society of Keelung April 10, 2024
Photo courtesy of Wild Bird Society of Keelung April 10, 2024

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) A type of aquatic firefly discovered in Keelung, northern Taiwan, has recently been confirmed to be a new species, the Wild Bird Society of Keelung said Wednesday.

The society said in a statement issued Wednesday that the new species was discovered while it was working on a three-year project on firefly ecology and rehabilitation, which began in 2022 and was commissioned by the Keelung City Government.

It added that the fireflies were first seen in the mountains in Keelung's Nuannuan District in the first year of the project, and with the help of firefly expert Chen Tsan-jung (陳燦榮) and scholar Cheng Ming-lun (鄭明倫), who currently chairs the Department of Biology at the National Museum of Natural Science, they were confirmed to be part of a new species.

According to the society, the newly discovered fireflies fly at canopy height, and their larvae live and forage in water, meaning it is also an aquatic species and the fourth aquatic firefly species discovered in Taiwan.

The species has been temporarily named, "Beimiao" (北杪) firefly, relating to the fact it was discovered in northern Taiwan and flies at canopy height, the society said.

Director of the society Shen Chin-feng (沈錦豐) noted that the Aquatica hydrophila, a Taiwanese aquatic firefly, and the Pristolycus kanoi Nakane, the only semi-aquatic firefly species in Taiwan, are also present in Keelung.

He said this, and the discovery of the new firefly species, shows that Keelung has a good natural habitat and clean water supply, particularly in Nuannuan and Qidu districts.

He added that in addition to the new species found in Nuannuan, during a survey conducted in five different parts of Keelung as part of the project, the highest number of fireflies were found in the Yourui area of Qidu.

(By Wang Chao-yu and Bernadette Hsiao)

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