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Have fireflies ever been exhibited in zoos?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by DavidBrown, 29 Dec 2012.

  1. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Has anybody ever tried to build an exhibit for live fireflies? It seems like this could be a very popular exhibit for the parts of the world where these species do not occur.

    Given their seasonal occurrence perhaps maintaining them in captivity is not possible.
     
  2. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I think it's possible and I'd actually enjoy seeing fireflies in a zoo.

    I did find this:
    ScienceDirect.com - Der Zoologische Garten - Breeding fireflies at Tama Zoo: An ecological approach

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  3. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    you mean lightning bugs? haha
     
  4. chizlit

    chizlit Well-Known Member

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    I was amazed the first time I saw them in NYC.
     
  5. stacey101

    stacey101 Well-Known Member

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    I think it might be a little difficult, but worth it!
     
  6. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    As Stacey said it would be difficult and even though the species may be a popular attraction I don't think zoos would focus much on them since there are much more endangered species to worry about. Also, remember the animals would have to be exhibited in the dark.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  7. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    Night Safari Singapore has been breeding and displaying small numbers of fireflies (a native species) on and off over the past decade. Husbandry is very difficult as the larvae feed only on a particular type of aquatic snail. The larvae have to be kept separate to prevent cannibalization and it takes up to half a year for the larvae to reach adulthood. The adult beetles live only about 2 weeks.

    It is simply too much effort and Night Safari is doing it primarily for a release-to-the-wild project, while keeping very small numbers for occasional display.
     
  8. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    The Tama Zoo -Tokyo - Japan has / had them in their 'Insect Ecological Land' an enormus insectarium. They are/were kept at a temperture of 14 Degrese Celsius at an humidity of at least 95 %. I;m not aware of the species kept in Tama and also other information like breeding-results, longivity etc are unknown to me.
    Hope however this helps a little bit.
     
  9. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    You might want to read the second post of this thread.;)

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  10. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    sorry, guess I overlooked that one ;)
     
  11. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    No problem. I wasn't going to point it out but the article had some of the answers you asked so I thought it'd be helpful.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  12. HyakkoShachi

    HyakkoShachi Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure there is way to keep and breed them in captivity, but since the main reason people are interested in fireflies is their lighting rather than the animals themselves, the general public would probably be satisfied with the cheaper option of a simple setup using small blinking lights.
     
  13. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    I would love to see them sometime, either in a zoo or in the wild. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I have fond memories of the opening swamp in Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland) with the fake fireflies.

    Also, my favorite photograph of all time is this one by Florida photographer John Moran featuring fireflies over a natural spring at night. (Still not sure how he achieved that lighting, but it is incredible).
    John Moran Florida Nature Photography / Events
     
  14. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information everybody. From the data it looks like live fireflies can be kept under very demanding husbandry conditions that don't lend themselves readily to exhibition of the species.


    I have the same fond memories of the Disney faux-fireflies. Real fireflies are a major, magical experience that west-coasters miss out on unless they head east at the correct time of year. I saw a community college in the Washington DC area lit up by fireflies on a June evening. It was spectacular.
     
  15. chrisbarela

    chrisbarela Well-Known Member

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    Another hurdle may be agricultural laws - California is pretty strict. And, while they may be difficult to keep in captivity, I wonder how many places have actually tried in earnest? Maybe part of the reason is the attempt to keep them in a terrarium type enclosure as opposed to a large "free flight" indoor open exhibit, such as butterflies are kept. Like an indoor nocturnal swamp exhibit?... how cool would that be?
     
  16. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    That's a great idea! Still raising the young would be a problem and the adults don't live very long so you'd have to have some other critters in the exhibits or else it would be a cool looking room with nothing in it when the adults die.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  17. chrisbarela

    chrisbarela Well-Known Member

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    That's the idea - The fireflies are seasonal, much like butterfly exhibits or spiders. Then you have a regular spike in attendance when it's firefly time!
     
  18. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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  19. chrisbarela

    chrisbarela Well-Known Member

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    I've thought this through a while ago - a nocturnal Southern swamp exhibit with alligators, bullfrogs, mink, raccoon's, owls... you enter in through a tapper's cabin with small animal exhibits, exit out the back porch along a wooden walkway above water on either side. Bullfrogs, turtles on one side and alligators on the other. Fireflies free flying. Red headlights are handed out to view animals without disturbing them and collected at the exit.