"" Writer's Wanderings: More Fireflies of the Ocean

Friday, April 12, 2019

More Fireflies of the Ocean

Sometimes just traveling to the nail salon can be an adventure and educational. As I sat waiting for my turn to get my manicure, I watched the television program they had running on the TV. Sound was turned off but closed captioning was on. It was a nature program and suddenly it had my full attention. On the screen were sparkling bioluminescent squid!

I've posted here before about the little glow worms that cycle in the Florida Bay after a full moon making the waters sparkle with their blue-green glow. And I've seen Portuguese Man O War jellyfish light up the nighttime waters in the Bahamas. I have never seen Firefly Squid, however. Okay, let's put it on the bucket list.

To see them we'll have to travel to Japan. In Japan they are known as hotaru-ika. The photopores that emit a deep blue light can light up simultaneously or in patterned sequences. Scientists think they are used to attract mates or disguise their appearance to predators. It is also believed that they can attract prey with the lights. I'd be attracted. Thankfully the squid are only three inches long so not really a danger to me. [To learn more go to http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/firefly-squid.html]

The spawning season, when these creatures are most visible, occurs from March to May and millions can be seen in Toyama Bay in Japan. Toyama is on the west coast of Japan and slightly northwest of Tokyo. Of course there are tour boats that take people out to watch the spectacle but there are also fishing boats. If it comes from the sea, the Japanese will find a way to eat it and the squid are considered quite a delicacy.

Here is the best video I could find that shows the squid in a collection of pictures. They are amazing.

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