Fireflies in Taiwanese Forest

June 09, 2015

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Photographer: Rogelio Bernal Andreo
Summary AuthorRogelio Bernal Andreo

The metropolitan area of Taipei, Taiwan is home to almost 7 million people. Yet just minutes from the heart of town you can find yourself lost in a lush tropical forest and delight in a spectacle of lights like no other. Not artificial lights, but as natural as stars: fireflies or lightning bugs -- thousands of them! Taiwan is home to about 60 species of fireflies and the month of May is often the high point of their annual activity. On this April night, the ground, not the sky, was filled with myriad twinkling points of light. Their glow is a result of bioluminescence, the same cold light used by some marine organisms (see yesterday's Earth Science Picture of the Day). Note that the large yellow blobs in the foreground are out of focus fireflies. The photo was taken on April 16, 2015 and is an integration of several shots under changing light conditions.