* Japanese name: Genjibotaru * Scientific name: Luciola cruciata * Description: Fireflies aren’t flies — they are beetles, as you can tell from the hard shell that protects their wings when they’re not flying. Adults are 12-18 mm long. They have black bodies and legs, and a red thorax. The most amazing thing about fireflies, though, is the bright green light they generate in their abdomens. Nothing else flying at night does this — if you see the green light, you know it’s a firefly.

* Where to find them: Near clean rivers, in the countryside. Adults fly from June to August, from Honshu to Kyushu. They can sometimes be seen in large numbers at night, looking like little green flying aliens. Their numbers are decreasing now in Japan as the amount of pollution in rivers increases. The larvae are nocturnal and live in rivers. They have soft, stretchy bodies but are strong enough to move stones around when looking for food.

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