The firefly squid is a tiny creature also known as sparkling enope squid. This species is famous for its wonderful light show that occurs each year in Japan.
Being a member of the cepahalopod family it also resembles a firefly and is related to other various squid species. Every year these little firefly squids gather together to spawn and the light show starts making people get amazed of it.
The firefly squid is only 7 cm and includes photophores. These are such organs that produce deep blue light and can be found in different parts of the squid’s body. Photophores can be both large and tiny. The large photophores exist around the eyes of the squid and on the tips of the tentacles. The tiny ones are found through its whole body giving an opportunity to produce its light along the entire form. This light is the main weapon of squids against predators and has several functions.
They communicate with one another by these lights and save themselves from many predators as the light indicates that they are not tasty preys. So, the predators get confused and never eat them. Males attract females by the light, too. The firefly squid is the only type among the squid family that has a color vision. It also has three visual pigments and a retina which is double-layered and is found in the back part of its eye. Such ability helps them to distinguish the lights of the other squids and also differentiate ambient light from bioluminescence.
Escaping from predators squids themselves are active predators. They use their fantastic blue light to attract preys. They usually live in deep depths but when night comes they emerge on the surface to attract small fish. Having powerful tentacles they pounce on them immediately. These searches for food are really incredible as their flashing lights keep them to seem so innocent.
Firefly squids gather together to lay eggs. You can see millions of squids in the waters of Japan from March to May. In this season they lay eggs releasing them into the water. When the eggs are fertilized, the adult squid dies. Firefly squids are found in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. They are found in deep depths ranging from 182 to 356 meters. The firefly squid is also considered as a delicacy in Japan and it is fished there especially in the spawning season.
The light show produced by squids takes you to another world. The seashores seem to be magical when they start flashing on and off. These seashores have become outstanding places where people come from around the world and admire the incredible beauty of the flashing of firefly squids. The spectacle is amazing as the twinkling effect makes a great impact on people. Tourists come to the beaches to watch these sparkling shows and admire the unique phenomenon of these small squids.
Video: Sam Spade
Sure, there are many attractive creatures in the deep depths of sea but the beauty of firefly squid cannot be compared to any other creatures and it is undoubtedly evident.