The Glowing Sea Fireflies of Okayama, Japan

Sea fireflies (Vargula hilgendorfii) emit light in response to physical stimulus. (Photo: TDUB Photo)

From insects and mushrooms to deep-sea predators and phytoplankton, bioluminescence is found throughout the world. One of the most well-known examples are fireflies, but did you know there's a creature known as a sea firefly?

These striking ostracod crustaceans inhabit the waters surrounding Japan, where they are known as "umi-hotaru." Although they only measure a mere 3 millimeters long, they produce a brilliant blue-colored glow in response to physical stimulus.

Their stunning bioluminescence is perfectly captured in this photo series titled "The Weeping Stones." The creative force behind this surreal collection is Tdub Photo — a photo and video company comprised of Canadian photographer Trevor Williams and British videographer Jonathan Galione.

Sea fireflies often can be found in shallow water. (Photo: TDUB Photo)

The pair are based in Okayama, Japan, an area famed for its abundance of sea fireflies. Despite their impressive numbers, it still requires a little effort to get photos like the ones you see here.

"They generally live in the sand in shallow water so you often see them being washed up on the shore," the pair explain, "but in order to get quantities, like what we use in our photos, you have to fish them out."

If you find yourself in Okayama (or another place that boasts surreal bioluminescent creatures) and want to take a stab at recreating these amazing photos, Williams and Galione have written up a tutorial that guides you through the step-by-step process.

Sea fireflies glisten against a rock. (Photo: TDUB Photo)