Fireflies, these little enchanted beetles we all know from childhood, still fascinate us over and over again when they play their bioluminescence spectacle on an early summer night for a few weeks. Fireflies are distasteful to predators and warn them with their glowing ends.
Making nature conservation a successful community effort
MONTIS learned in the past that involving people in community activities is the best way to raise awareness for nature and the threatening problems of our time like climate warming (wildfires, draught) and the loss of biodiversity that must be tackled now. Through their work, MONTI’s volunteers have a direct, positive impact on the land and identify with nature, making nature conservation a successful community effort.
On the 27th and 28th of May, MONTIS organised two Bioblitzes in Malveira in the south of Portugal, a six-hectare plot of private land managed by MONTIS.
The group is instructed as they prepare to look for fireflies. Photo credit: Montis
Through bioblitzes, MONTIS learns more about the land and its inhabitants
This time, it is fireflies and night butterflies. Most participants are interested amateurs who want to learn more about fireflies and night butterflies. But there are volunteers too, who are professional conservationists always eager to learn more about particular species from the specialist who leads the bioblitz.
Participants are identifying firefly species. On the hand Luciola lusitanica. Photo credit: Montis
On the first night, 27 May, the event was dedicated to a night tour to observe and register fireflies. Several fireflies (Luciola lusitanica), male and female, were observed.
Hoplodrina octogenaria and Lygephila craccae observed during the BioBlitz. Photo credit: Montis
The second night on 28 May was dedicated to observing and registering night butterfly species with an external specialist. A total of 45 butterflies from 32 different species were recorded. Of the registered species, the most relevant ones were Lygephila craccae because of the low abundance and Hoplodrina octogenarian for not being common in this area.
All the identified species can be viewed here.
Through bioblitzes, MONTIS learns more about the land and its inhabitants. This knowledge is essential to improving land management. Not only MONTIS knowledge is improved, but also the landowners learn through such bioblitzes the existing biodiversity of their land – or the lack thereof. Depending on budget and availability, MONTIS organises approx four bioblitzes per year.
Founded on 23 March 2014, MONTIS Nature Conservation Association is a non-profit environmental non-governmental organisation with a national scope based in Vouzela, a district of Viseu, Portugal. As of January 2020, MONTIS has 473 associates and manages 178,2 hectares comprising 26 properties in the centre of Portugal. The main objectives of MONTIS are to ensure the development of natural processes, promote the conservation of native species, manage wildfires and other natural damages and increase biodiversity.