Meet with Noctiluca Lampyris


The encounter with an unknown animal which, like a lighthouse in the night, attracts attention with an intermittent light.

An unexpected encounter in the woods, while returning from a walk after sunset. In the pitch darkness of the forest, I see two yellow lights appear, like two small LEDs, which turn on and off, very evident in the darkness, at first I thought that someone had lost some electronic gadget, but then as I got closer and illuminated them with the torch, I saw that it was a tiny animal making a spectacle of itself! It slowly waved what, on its small tail, looked like a lighthouse in the night, a clear attempt at communication.

Searching on the internet, I discovered that it is a Noctiluca Lampyris, a bioluminescent insect from the cockroach category, in which the males and females are very different from each other: the males fly and emit intermittent light, the female does not fly, it is very rarer, and emits a continuous light for about two hours in the evening, from 10pm to midnight! So don't be like me, who waited in vain until 2.30 am to photograph it turned on again, wondering why it didn't turn back on again: I was simply out of time!

I then returned the following day, hoping it was still there, and in fact I found it again and managed to photograph this little miracle of nature, one of the thousand facets of life in the universe!

I had the opportunity to observe the behavior of this insect for a few hours, and the poor guy has a hard life too! She lives in solitude, and this female has to climb the highest leaves to show off and have some hope, but the light is placed on her abdomen, so she also has to be a bit of a contortionist to be able to make herself visible. Partly because of these precarious positions that she has to assume, partly because the ivy leaves are smooth, the poor thing often slips and falls to the ground, having to repeat the path again and climb up, which in proportion is as if we had to climb to the top of a tree as tall as a building, and then who knows what a waste of energy it would be to produce all that light! And all this in the hope that perhaps, one day, a little boy might pass by, who knows, perhaps... Yet this little life repeats (mechanically?) its role with inexorable constancy, regardless of failures, stubbornly, to the point of exhaustion , with the sole purpose of reproducing itself or looking for company, who knows. Furthermore, the brightest part is in the lower part of the little animal, therefore it has to juggle daring contortions to be able to direct the light beam towards potential observers.

These deductions are obviously my personal interpretation, certainly no one can be in the mind of the insect, no one can know its intentions, its purposes. We must always stop before these mysteries and never take our point of view for granted. We often project our mental processes and our ways of feeling and interpreting into the animal world, but I think it is wrong, you cannot humanize an animal, it lives in another dimension of thought and experience that is inaccessible to us, and therefore unknowable .

For these reasons I can no longer stand documentaries on animals, where their behaviors are justified by framing them within typically human logics, which in turn are framed in unproven, or clearly incorrect and misleading "scientific" theories, such as the omnipresent Darwinian theory , stuck everywhere like parsley. This theory, not by chance functional to the capitalist vision of the world, is used to justify and explain a whole myriad of situations, without taking into account that it is still just a theory, moreover clearly incorrect in many points and unproven, therefore most of our views on nature and ourselves are just castles in the air.

The dedication with which this tiny animal tries to carry out the task that Nature has entrusted to it makes us think, it doesn't seem to worry about why it does it, nor about the meaning of life, it doesn't let itself be discouraged and doesn't even give up on the undertaking, however absurd it may be. or unlikely it may seem: it just does it! Every living being, every soul enclosed in a body, has a task to carry out in this life, have you ever wondered what yours is? And do you try with the same dedication?

It's a strange and interesting little animal. For those who want to learn more, read some information on Wikipedia.

In the meantime, while I was photographing, many eyes, in the darkness of the woods, were carefully observing my movements. Some of these were visible, but the majority were invisible eyes, I felt their presence only by their furtive noises (some not exactly furtive), the forest is always a magical place, both day and night.