Firefly Larva – The Night Flashers

20 April 2012
The rainy season is here again, and I couldn’t get the thought of glow-in-the-dark mushrooms out of my head. When trudging through the nature reserves at night, I would switch off the torches and stand in pitch-darkness to observe the surroundings. Some mushrooms were spotted, but their glow was faint. I had to use shutter speeds of over 100s to get the colour of the glow, even at ISO1600. The unexpected find from this endeavour was a tiny flashing bug… the firefly larva. While waiting in the darkness, I noticed a tiny green blinking dot in the leaf litter, and went closer to investigate…

Firefly larva (Lampyridae) - DSC_6653#1 View from the top when I first found it… just an ugly skinny little wormy-like creature

Firefly larva (Lampyridae) - DSC_6655#2 Side view reveals the firefly larva with the tail-end (in white on the left end) that glows. The tail also has a suction which helps it to crawl around.

Firefly larva (Lampyridae) - DSC_6656#3 So… where are the eyes? Looks like an empty head?

Firefly larva (Lampyridae) - DSC_6671#4 View from the front — the eyes protrude only when it was walking. It would otherwise be retracted to safety.

Firefly larva (Lampyridae) - DSC_6659#5 Final shot of the flasher. Indeed a very unique fella.

Bioluminescent Fungi - DSC_6649#6 These were the mushrooms that I was trying to shoot. Too dim to look like a glow at all. The red tint comes from ambient light, possibly my blinking flash.

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_6406#7 Practising a shot on a Harvestman (Opiliones)

Ground Beetle (Carabidae) - DSC_6422#8 Beautiful metallic blue/green ground beetle. Very difficult to light up nicely.

Spider in Fungus - DSC_6427#9 Orb web spider dies in it’s own web… covered with fungus

Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) - DSC_6436#10 White-Striped Wandering Spider (Ctenidae)

Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) - DSC_6438#11 Going closer…

Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) - DSC_6443#12 It adjusted its legs… so I moved to face it directly

Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) - DSC_6445#13 Complete face shot with the spiked pedipalps

Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) - DSC_6469#14 Another view of the face with all the hairy details

Sac Spider (Clubionidae) - DSC_6478#15 Found this green crab spider (?) hiding under a leaf

Sac Spider (Clubionidae) - DSC_6486#16 Very difficult to focus, the subject itself was 1cm long including the long legs

Sac Spider (Clubionidae) - DSC_6498#17 Top view. Nibbling it’s legs?

Sac Spider (Clubionidae) - DSC_6502#18 Cleaner top view

Cellar Spider (Pholcidae) - DSC_6524#19 Alfred found this amazing cluster of newborns clutched by a Daddy Long Legs Spider mummy

Cellar Spider (Pholcidae) - DSC_6554#20 Incredible view from the side shows all the lanky baby legs sticking out in all directions

Weevil (Curculionidae) - DSC_6567#21 The weevils we found tonight were infested with ticks. Some of them were moving around very slowly.

Weevil (Curculionidae) - DSC_6585#22 Diagonal view. Wonder how badly the ticks can affect the weevil?

Weevil (Curculionidae) - DSC_6603#23 Front view of the poor fella

Treehole Frog hiding in tree trunk (Metaphrynella sp.?) - DSC_6607#24 Little toad hiding in a crevice of a tree trunk

Checkered Beetle (Cleridae) - DSC_6617#25 Checkered Beetle? As hairy as ever!

Checkered Beetle (Cleridae) - DSC_6632#26 Getting a shot at the compound eyes

Checkered Beetle (Cleridae) - DSC_6633#27 Big compound eyes surrounding the antennae, like the longhorn beetle

Checkered Beetle (Cleridae) - DSC_6644#28 View from below.

The complete album can be viewed here.



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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