BAN LOMTUAN, Thailand — Preecha Jiabyu used to take tourists on a rowboat to see the banks of the Mae Klong River aglow with thousands of fireflies.
These days, all he sees are the fluorescent lights of hotels, restaurants and highway overpasses. He says he’d have to row a good two miles to see trees lit up with the magical creatures of his younger days.
"The firefly populations have dropped 70 percent, in the past three years," said Preecha, 58, a former teacher who started providing dozens of row boats to compete with polluting motor boats. "It’s sad. They were a symbol of our city."
From backyards in Tennessee to riverbanks in Southeast Asia, researchers said they have seen fireflies — also called glowworms or lightning bugs — dwindling in number.