A light in the dark

  • Malaysia
  • Saturday, 15 Jun 2013

On a good night, thousands of fireflies come out to play (or rather, mate) at the Firefly Park in Kuala Selangor. The dominant species here is the pteroptyx tener, one among those that practice synchronised flashing.

WE had just clambered into a little boat from the jetty of the Firefly Park in Kuala Selangor (also known as Kelip-Kelip Kampung Kuantan), and the boatman was taking us out on the river to observe the fireflies.

There we were, sitting in the dark and being lulled by the hypnotic sounds of lapping water all around, when hundreds of glowing dots of light appeared out of the darkness. It seemed as though the entire firefly colony at the park had come out to play.

They were perched on or hovering around the mangrove trees along either side of the muddy river bank. In this area, the Pteroptyx tener species is king. It is among those that practise synchronised flashing.

The boatman skilfully manoeuvred his boat, weaving in and out among the tree branches that hung over the water, to give us a better view of these dancing lights. The fireflies drifted lazily over tree branches and leaves, glowing a warm yellow against the night sky.

Yes, the experience on the Selangor river that night was surreal. It felt like Christmas came early this year.

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