On hot, hazy summer nights, fireflies take centre stage as they fly through the night air, punctuating the darkness with flecks of yellow light.

But Japanese photographer Tsuneaki Hiramatsu captured their beauty in a whole new light, using time-lapse photography.

The result – lush images that show patterns of light that looks more like celestial figures than arthropods.

Secrets of the night: Fireflies in a forest somewhere in the southern part of Okayama Prefecture were captured by time-lapse photography

Firefly interstate: Looking like they’re jumping around in beams of light, fireflies take flight in a whole new way
The images were taken throughout Japan; the effect was achieved by using different exposures and apertures on his Nikon camera.

The unique phenomena of lightning bugs being able to light up come from bioluminescence, which is created when a pigment and chemical react.

It is most often seen in sea creatures. According to io9.com, up to 90 per cent of marine life use bioluminescence. The astounding feat is often seen in deep sea trenches and other parts of the ocean where sunlight does not reach.

Fireflies use two chemicals – luciferase and luciferin. The former glows when combined with the latter, which is an enzyme that triggers light emission.
Mythical forest: Artist Tsuneaki Hiramatsu spent nearly four years photographing these tiny creatures

Golden orbs: The artist captured a dazzling string of lights in Okayama Prefecture in a pattern that looks more like a constellation than fireflies

A midsummer night’s dream: Fireflies thrive in humid environments and can often be found in wooded areas near ponds and streams
According to firefly.org, even firefly larvae glow in the dark, and have been known to respond to such external stimulants like mild vibrations.

These photographs by Mr Hiramatsu were captured in the wilds of the Okayama Prefecture – none of the artist’s photographs were captured with camera flashes or artificial light.

He snapped them between 2008 and 2011.

Jumbled: Fireflies gather en masse over a meandering stream as dusk falls

Blinded by science: The unique phenomena of lightning bugs being able to light up comes from bioluminescence, which is created when a pigment and chemical react
Many fireflies in the United States live in woodlands and forests, especially near ponds and streams. They use their light as a way to attract mates and also as a means of communication.

Though many think they are flies, the creatures are part of the beetle family.

Females often wait on tree leaves and grass to spot a male she likes. The males, meanwhile, will do their best to put on the most impressive light show they can muster.

They live and thrive in humid conditions, and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

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