the japanese word for firefly is hotaro, which is thought to derive from ho taru, which literally means ‘to drip fire’. there are about two thousand species of firefly, but japan is notable for its two aquatic species, the genji and heike. only ten species are known to be aquatic in their larval stage.
despite the swarm of fireflies (known as a firefly contest) seen here, their numbers in japan are dropping due to pesticide use, which kills the river snails that firefly larvae eat. (click pic or link for photo x, x, x, x, x, x, x. see also previous firefly posts)