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Online firefly sales light up opposition (2)

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)

14:29, August 21, 2012

He said that in order to keep the firefly cost to 2 yuan each, he built his farm outdoors. "The usual cost of breeding fireflies is around 8 to 20 yuan each — far more expensive than the price you could find online," said He.

Fu said selling fireflies online is the wrong way to develop the mainland's firefly industry chain, and contrasts with tourism-oriented firefly protection zones in Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.

"Many may argue that after the romantic moment, they could let the firefly go into the wild, but that would bring another problem — a biological invasion. If you place the lighting bugs somewhere other than their own environments, similar local species could be threatened," said Fu.

He added that in the wild, fireflies have a life span of 10 to 14 days, while they can survive for only two to five days if bought online because of the injuries the insects suffer from capture and transportation.

"I don't think it makes sense to connect the lighting bugs with Qixi simply because the primary purpose of light in adult beetles is to be used for mate selection," Fu added.

The first firefly park in the mainland opened in Fujian province's Xiamen in 2010. It has more than 10,000 fireflies in a wetland valley that is a favorable ecological environment for the bug. More than 10,000 people have visited the park, which only opens in summer — the best time of the year to observe the insect.

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