By one in the morning, the forest was quiet, but its nightlife shone out from the leaf litter. The star of the show was a large firefly larva about seven centimetres long, which emitted a continuous glow from four light organs at its rear end. Using a long exposure with a burst of flash, Christian revealed the larva apparently blazing a trail.
Fireflies spend most of their lives as larvae, feeding on other invertebrates such as snails and slugs. This one is a voracious predator of snails, even tackling those many times its size. Its glow is the result of a chemical reaction within its light organs, and is most likely a warning to predators that it is unpalatable.
Canon EOS 5DS + 16–35mm f4 lens at 35mm; 33 sec at f5.6; ISO 1600; Yongnuo flash; Cable release; Gitzo tripod
Peninsular Botanic Garden, Trang, Thailand
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Christian Wappl, Austria
Christian spent the first years of his life travelling the world with his parents. Seeing the world's rich biodiversity left him with a deep connection to nature. While studying for a biology degree, he picked up a camera to document his work and found that photography was more than taking shots for reference. His work now focuses on tropical rainforests and urban environments.