Fireflies of Japan
Do you like fairy tales? This amazing spectacle creates only one association – fairy forest! Actually it is a huge amount of fireflies that annually inhabit the forests of Japan during the season of rains and thunderstorms. Thus, in the period from June to July, you can watch a truly marvelous pageant – thousands of dancing luminous points. These tiny glowing insects emit yellow, green or pale red light. Such night parties in the forests can be found only in a few locations of Japan – Maniwa City, Okayama Prefecture, Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, as well as in the vicinity of the Oita Prefecture, and others.
This magical light is explained by the certain chemical processes of course. “Cold light” which is produced by fireflies, in other words “bioluminescence”, is necessary for the choice of the pair. It helps to find their congeners in a group of insects.
Adults of many species are able to demonstrate their twilight glow forming unique light patterns. This way they beckon the potential partners. When the females of the same kind of fireflies see these urges, they respond by the relevant signals. Thus, the mutual “winks” promotes a rendezvous. Pair selection is a serious matter, where everything is important, even the characteristic of flicker (frequency, brightness).
Besides the romantic manipulations, this glow has another important function. It serves as a warning to predators about inedibility of the fireflies – they produce special protective steroids, making them unpleasant to the taste.
Admiration for natural beauty of Japan is a centuries-old tradition. Millions of tourists also do not deprive these beautiful luminous insects of their attention. Fireflies were held in high esteem since ancient times. Then people even gave them names like to home pets. This month, in the period from June to July, when the Japanese and guests of the country start to enjoy the dance of the nocturnal tiny beetles, is called Hotaru gari.
First of all it is a favorite time for photographers. They make pictures with slow shutter speed, which allows to show the neon signs of beetle-lanterns in all their glory. Of course these unique insects don’t fly in the woods every day, so the photo-masters have to spend several hours or even days in anticipation, “hunting for the best shot”. When they are fortunate enough, and fireflies appear looking for a partner, it is possible to take pictures only from afar. The fact is that any movement, light of the car headlight or flashlight can scare the fragile fireflies.