BOA Outdoor Trails: Kampung Dew Fireflies, Kamunting, Perak

Kampung Dew, located to the west of Kamunting along the old trunk road, is essentially a fishing village which is also noted for its once thriving charcoal industry. Charcoal kilns are still found in the area but not as many as it was in the 1960s. Most of the charcoal produced here are for export, especially to Japan, where demand for this low-tech energy source prevails.

One other product closely associated with Kg Dew is freshwater lobsters. They thrive in the tepid waters of Sungai Sepetang, a major waterway running past the village. The crustaceans have long been an important source of income for the villagers.

The other product which has yet to evolve into a viable money spinner is eco-tourism. And the thing that will spearhead this economic activity is an insect that lives in the mangrove swamps.

Firefly or Lampyridae is a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged beetles and are commonly called fireflies for their conspicuous use of bioluminescence in their abdomens to attract mates or prey.

There are 2,000 species of firefly found in temperate and tropical environments. Many are in marshes or in wet, wooded areas where food is in abundance.

The Kampung Dew fireflies are found on a species of mangrove tree called pokok berembang or Sonneratia Caseoraris, which is indigenous to the mangrove swamps of the tropics.

Getting to these firefly colonies is half the fun, as the traveller has to overcome a number of obstacles; the most exhilarating being the wobbling boat ride from Kampong Dew jetty. It takes about 15 minutes, in failing light and under the guidance of a seasoned boatman, to access the spot. The other half of the fun is on reaching the firefly colonies and seeing the insects glowing in the dark on the berembang trees. The flashing glow is the reason why the insects are known as kelip-kelip in Bahasa Malaysia language.

Tropical fireflies routinely synchronise their flashes when in large groups. The cause of this behaviour is linked to the insects’ diet, social interaction and altitude. Fireflies can live up to 30 days without food. The male fly dies after mating while the female dies after laying its eggs.

More details about eco-torusim in Kampung Dew can be found here

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