By Crystal Chung @crystalkchung

THOUSANDS of dancing fireflies in Japan create an enchanted forest

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The fireflies typically light up at evening, and they can control their light by flashing it in patterns

Photographer Kei Nomiyama, 37, has visited the Japanese island Shikoku every year since 2012 to capture the mesmerising images of thousands of fireflies glowing in the forest.

He said: “Shikoku island, where I live, is the so-called "back-country" and this makes it a really great area for observing nature and every year we get some amazing opportunities to observe fireflies.”

Fireflies produce a 'cold light' from their bodies, which is a chemically produced light that can shine bright yellow

“These firefly photos were taken through extensive preparation. I have spent over four years trying to find the perfect shooting locations.”

Fireflies produce a 'cold light' from their bodies, which is a chemically produced light that can shine bright yellow, green, or red.

The light is created due to a type of chemical reaction called ‘bioluminescence', and was originally believed to be used for warning purposes, but now its main purpose is thought to be used in mate selection.

Nomiyama captured the stunning photos using a long exposure on the lens of his camera

The fireflies typically light up at night, and they can control their light by flashing it in patterns - saving energy and communicating with each other.

There are about 2,000 varieties of firefly and they flourish particularly well in tropical climates as the moist environments provide their larvae with an abundant source of food. Fireflies eggs also glow in colour and are often called glow worms.

Kei captured the stunning photos using a long exposure - where the lens of the camera would have been open for between five and 15 minutes.

Kei said: “I am charmed by the fantastic view created by the fireflies. When I'm looking at them I feel calm and relaxed"

He said: “I am charmed by the fantastic view created by the fireflies. When I'm looking at this view, I feel calm and relaxed.

“Many people feel the same way when they are lucky enough to see fireflies. It’s a view that you can only imagine to see on this universe.”

There are about 2,000 varieties of firefly, and they flourish particularly well in tropical climates

Professor Nomiyama who works as a scientist doesn’t call himself a professional photographer but says that working in science leads him to taking some of the best images of nature.

He said: “I love nature and animals and I became a scientist to protect nature and my interest in photography helped me to record the nature of my work.”