The effects of tropical elevations and associated habitat changes on firefly (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) diversity in Malaysia

B. Nada, Andrew P. Beckerman, Karl L. Evans, Lesley A. Ballantyne

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Studies of the effects of elevation and associated habitat changes on biodiversity have a rich history in conservation biology and have seen a resurgence of interest in recent decades. Mountainous regions are particularly important because they harbour endemic species and are relatively spared from anthropogenic effects. The rather drastic temperature decrease as elevation increases in tropical regions has generated more research on the effects of elevation, especially since global warming could negatively impact the biodiversity of tropical forest mountainous species. Fireflies, especially the solitary species, represent a challenge to work with because though they are biologically diverse, they typically occur at low densities and have rarely been studied across elevations. Many are habitat specialists and have limited dispersal abilities. Firefly diversity changes on five mountains located on the main mountain range of Peninsular Malaysia, which is highly representative of five major elevational forest types, were assessed. Fireflies were restricted to a certain elevational range of mountains, and the turnover of species was significant among forest types across elevations. The forest type and canopy closure were the main characteristics affecting species diversity, although other habitat characteristics may be significant. The ability to reveal any possible associations was limited, as strong statistical associations were not possible due to their low abundance and difficulty in detecting their presence. The firefly species occurrence across elevations is restricted, and habitat loss could pose a risk to lower-elevation species, while global warming could be a threat to high-elevation species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number79
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 06 Jan 2023


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