In 2017, a hiker first spotted fireflies in Bukit Kiara. They have likely long existed in this (and many other) urban green lung, however this serendipitous moment would spark greater curiosity about their existence.

While much is known about congregating fireflies, much less is known about solitary fireflies.

It is through the guidance of Sonny Wong, the firefly expert at Malaysian Nature Society, that we were able to organise our first public walk in 2017 with Cilisos. The world’s largest female firefly, Lamprigeras, were spotted and connections were made.

But what truly came alive that night, apart from the blinking superstars, was the sense that much more needed to be done to learn about these magical mysteries.

Across the years, we engaged with specialists in Monash University and Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) to develop a better understanding about the basis of running a scientific study and incorporating community engagement.

Thus, in 2021, the Magical Mysteries at Bukit Kiara was brought to life, in collaboration with the GEF Small Grants Programme, UNDP, Jabatan Landskap Negara, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and Urban Biodiversity Initiative (UBI).

This is a ground-breaking project to collect information about fireflies at Bukit Kiara, where the world’s largest female firefly lives!

As part of the project, we recruited citizen scientists to aid us in this project. These volunteers who come from various background helped collect data on the behavioural ecology of the fireflies and their habitat.

They continue to be an integral part of this study, further developing protocols, interpreting data, and refining processes to ensure that this study continues on despite the end of the fund.

The project continues to run with the contribution of passionate volunteers and we continue to recruit eager citizen scientists all-year round. Join us and learn more about these magical mysteries of Bukit Kiara!