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New species of fireflies shine in forest at Coimbatore’s Anamalai Tiger Reserve – Reuters

By on May 4, 2022 0

Express press service

COIMBATORE: A new species of synchronous fireflies has been identified at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve where several thousand fireflies have transformed much of the protected forest into a bioluminescent world similar to an Avatar movie.

The bioluminescent world of Pandora in the movie Avatar may be fictional, but the phenomenon has become a reality in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR). In the summer, each year, several thousand fireflies transform the pristine forest reserve into a blanket of lush greenery.

In April 2022, under the guidance of Field Manager Ramasubramanian, Deputy Manager MG Ganesan and Sriram Murali, a software engineer who is also an expert in light pollution and fireflies, went deep into the protected forest to observe the synchronized flashing of a large congregation. of fireflies. What they witnessed was breathtaking and claims to be a wonder of the eight worlds.

“Several lakhs of fireflies were seen coordinating their lightning through the forest. The illumination was found emerging in a tree and the relay was carried through the forest and the cycle continued throughout the night,” said ATR Deputy Director MG Ganesan added that some trees were pulsing in lightning which showed the structure of the trees in pitch black. Each tree seemed to have a different blinking pattern. The whole forest glowed a yellowish green, he exclaimed.

A new species of synchronous fireflies has been identified in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve. (File photo)

ATR DD Ganesan told TNIE: “The rare sighting was spotted in approximately 8,000 hectares of the ATR Protected Forest Lands of the Pollachi Range. We also suspect that we may find similar sightings in the nearby Parambikulam and Nelliyampathi Forest Ranges. in Kerala. We plan on understanding the ecology and life cycle of these fireflies, their relationship with other animals and their selection of trees.”

“Samples of these fireflies will be collected for detailed research and DNA sequencing to properly identify the species. There are only 7-8 species of fireflies recorded in India. So this particular species could be a new one due to synchronous lighting with different patterns,” he added.

Through communications with firefly scientists, including Sara Lewis of the United States, the synchronous behavior was known to have been noted in the ATR in 1999 by a visiting researcher, but no research papers have been published. A team of researchers from the Forest Genetics and Tree Improvement Institute in Coimbatore also noted the phenomenon in 2012, the sources added.

This phenomenon is the result of decades of conservation work by several passionate leaders who have worked hard to protect the Anamalai Tiger Reserve. Firefly populations are declining across the world and this extremely rare celestial wonder should be protected for our future generations, forestry officials said.

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