Fireflies

Kampung, Kuantan, Belimbing

Firefly Watching
The river that runs through Kuala Selangor is home to a strange insect that resembles a small wasp but comes out only during the night. Instead of a painful sting at the tail end, this bug emits a yellow light from the abdomen which it uses in courtship behaviour. The phenomenon created by large numbers of these fireflies, flashing randomly along the river mangroves, has been been decribed as nature's very own Christmas lights. Scientifically, the type of firefly found in Kuala Selangor belong to the Pteroptyx tener species. Similiar members can be found in lowland tropical rainforest to as high as the highlands, but usually, you will only find one or two individuals at a time.

It is only here in Kuala Selangor that you find such large groups congregating together in a bright display of lights, much to the awe of visitors and tourists. The fireflies are only fond of one type of mangrove plant, which is the 'Berembang' tree or Sonneratia Caseolaris. The Berembang trees are one of many different types of vegetation that have adapted to life in a mangrove ecosystem. They grow in clumps along the edges of specific river sections. In the local language, fireflies are called 'kelip-kelip', which is a word play on their random flashing. During the day, they are hidden among the trees and plants in deep sleep. Once night sets in, usually at 8 pm, the fireflies will come out to play and mate for a few hours, retreating between 10-11 pm.

On nights with full moons or under heavy rain, the fireflies will not come out at all. Ecologically, these bugs feed on the nectar found in the leaves of Berembang trees, which is why their preservation is essential for firefly conservation. Currently, two areas have been gazetted as firefly watching zones for tourists, namely Kampung Belimbing and Kampung Kuantan. The first, Kampung Belimbing, is located 6km away from Pasir Penambang, via a turn-along the main road after the bridge, which leads into an oil palm plantation and village area. Quiet motor boats are used to ferry visitors; tickets are MYR15 per adult. The second, Kampung Kuantan, can be more quickly reached from the main road (coming from Sungai Buloh) at left before town. Tickets here are cheaper at MYR10 per adult, but you need four pax to fill up the boat.
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Kampung Kuantan Kampung Kuantan Sampan Boats Kampung Kuantan Jetty Kampung Kuantan View Kampung Kuantan River Visitors Queuing up to see fireflies