Firefly survey: adopting citizen science approach to record the status of flashing beetles

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Nidhi Rana
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0066-853X
Rajesh Rayal
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9106-0046
V.P. Uniyal
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5757-6383

Abstract

Fireflies are magnificent beetles, under the family Lampyridae (order Coleoptera). They form an exceptional part of a natural landscape. However, natural firefly populations are threatened by several stressors, predominantly driven by anthropogenic development. Evaluation of firefly abundance through counts of their flashes provides an insight into the good health of the ecosystem, which could be easily observed and recorded by citizen scientists. On the occasion of World Firefly Day (3–4 July 2021), a firefly counting survey was conducted to record their occurrence, by engaging people from all over India, using the online platform. A datasheet with appropriate questions was prepared; barcodes and links were generated for the people. Through the survey, we received suitable participation and fitting data from 14 states of India—Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, and Ladakh. The total number of fireflies that were observed from all these states together was more than 26,000. Through the present study, significant data on fireflies occurrence have been recorded from various parts of the country. In addition to this, we get an understanding of using this citizen science approach on a bigger spectrum for varieties of projects and an effortless system of educating people.

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