Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Dance of light at the Mexican firefly sanctuary

Famous for its beautiful "light dance" every summer, the firefly sanctuary in Nanacamilpa (Mexico) becomes an attractive tourist destination for nature lovers.

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From June to August every year, tourists flock to the firefly sanctuary in Nanacamilpa (Tlaxcala, Mexico) to admire the magical spectacle. It was the rare light show of firefly “artists”. Photo: Pepe_soho.

Fireflies are brown, soft-bodied, wings are usually harder and tougher than other beetles. These insects are capable of emitting cold light orange-red or green-yellow. The glow in fireflies is caused by a chemical reaction of bioluminescence (biological light) occurring in specialized organs, located under the animal's abdomen. Photo: Pepe_soho.
When fireflies mature, it has only one purpose to live in: mating. The ability to glow not only helps fireflies catch prey but also to seduce their mates. Summer is the time when this insect enters breeding season. They concentrate in the deep forests, near streams or lakes, simultaneously glowing, creating magical beauty. The unique spectacle that helps the firefly gathering places become an interesting destination, attracting tourists. Photo: Kirsten Luce.
The low slopes of volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl (near Nanacamilpa) are home to a large flock of fireflies. At dusk, the fireflies slowly appeared in the dense oyamel pine forest. The "bioluminescent dance" in the air lasted about an hour when the male fireflies scrambled for female attention. Thousands light up 200 hectares, creating a sparkling scenery like a fairy world. Photo: Luciernagas_15.

To reach Nanacamilpa firefly conservation area, you will walk through peaceful countryside with fields of wheat, barley, fava beans and corn stretching to the forest edge. Walking deep into the forest, visitors will see the tall pine, oak and fir and many weeds covering the ground. This season often rains a lot and makes walking more difficult. But this is the most suitable weather condition to meet fireflies. Photo: Kirsten Luce.

Visitors must follow the basic rules of the tour such as walking on the road, not playing music, not using insect repellent, not turning on the lights and not using a mobile phone at all. Any light, even the phone screen, can distract fireflies. Photo: Democratic, Edgard Garrido.
As if separated from the outside world, visitors sit in the middle of the forest, enjoying a quiet and nervous afternoon waiting for the night to fall. The result is a great experience when immersed in the natural scenery, which looks like it is not real in the world, making visitors remember forever. Photo: Mike Corey.
"Firefly dance" has become a new and attractive phenomenon for tourists in Mexico. The number of people visiting the Nanacamilpa firefly forest has increased rapidly in recent years (from 4,000 in 2012 to more than 100,000 in 2017). Not only in Mexico, firefly tourism is also developing in Taiwan (China), Thailand, Japan, Malaysia and the eastern United States. Photo: Shutterstock.

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