Fun Firefly Squid Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Jan 11, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 26, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Read these interesting firefly squid facts to learn more about this species of bioluminescent creatures that have more than 800 photophores on their body.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.3 Min

Firefly squids (Watasenia scintillans) are tiny bioluminescent animals found in deep waters encompassing the coastline of Japan, mainly the Toyama Bay of Japan, a V-shaped canyon. They have two tentacles and eight arms, each with suckers and snares. They are alternatively called the sparkling enope squids or the 'Hotaru-ika' in Japanese.

They are named this in light of the fact that they look like fireflies producing blue bioluminescence through their light-producing organs called photophores which are present on their arms, hands, head, and body surface. The mating period of these squids begins around March and keeps going up to June, and during these mating months of March to June, the females come to the shore to lay eggs. Soon after fertilization, female firefly squids die.

We have many amazing and interesting facts about firefly squids that you will enjoy. Let's take a look at these facts and information, and if you enjoy these then do read our vampire squid and jellyfish facts.

Firefly Squid Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a firefly squid?

Firefly squids (Watasenia scintillans) are tiny bioluminescent creatures found in the western Pacific Ocean, mainly near the Toyama Bay of Japan. This species of squids emit blue light through their light-producing organs called the photophores that are present in large numbers on their body surface. These deep-sea squids prey on small fishes and shrimps. These sparkling enope are alternatively called the Toyama Bay firefly squid or the firefly squid of Toyama Bay.

What class of animal does a firefly squid belong to?

These squids belong to the class of Cephalopoda, just like other species of squids.

How many firefly squids are there in the world?

The exact estimation of the total population of these squids is yet not available.

Where does a firefly squid live?

Like its name suggests, a firefly squid (Watasenia scintillans) prefers to live in twilight regions, which is why they are also called glowing firefly squid. They are mostly found during the spawning season.

What is a firefly squid's habitat?

A firefly squid habitat mainly comprises the western Pacific Ocean, especially the shore of Japan, during the spawning season. They are found in a vast majority along the coast of Japan, and for this reason alone, they are often referred to as Japanese firefly squid or Japan firefly squid.

Who do firefly squids live with?

The bioluminescent firefly squid lives with the other squids of the same species. In fact, they are present in such large numbers together that their whole population lights up an entire beach of Japan, This has this beach the identity of the firefly squid beach by local inhabitants. 

How long does a firefly squid live?

The lifespan of a firefly squid (Watasenia scintillans) is as little as one year.

How do they reproduce?

The mating season of these squids begins around March and continues to June. During this time, to attract their forthcoming mates, adult firefly squids emit a dark blue light. From February to July, a huge number of adult female squids accumulate at the shoreline for laying eggs. After releasing and fertilizing the eggs in the water, the female squids die shortly.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these bioluminescence-producing squids is Least Concern which implies that they are found in abundance in the ecosystem and there is no immediate danger to their population.

Firefly Squid Fun Facts

What do firefly squids look like?

The firefly squid's color ranges from white to blue to yellow. They have two tentacles and eight arms, and there are hundreds of photophores present on their body surface, especially on their tentacles which emit bioluminescent lights to attract other squids and little prey for food.

Firefly squids are tiny bioluminescent animals

How cute are they?

Due to the light produced by the photophores present on their tentacles and their body surface, they are extremely beautiful and cute to look at just like jewel squids.

How do they communicate?

They are a species of bioluminescent squids which means that they use their bioluminescent photophores to communicate with other squids.

How big is a firefly squid?

A firefly squid size falls in the range of 1.5-3 in (3.8-7.6 cm), which is a lot smaller than the size of an average squid which is roughly equal to 19.6 in (49.7 cm).

How fast can a firefly squid swim?

Scientists have not yet found out about the exact speed of a firefly squid, but these light-emitting deep-sea creatures are really slow swimmers.

How much does a firefly squid weigh?

These squids weigh somewhere around 0.31 oz (8.7 g) which is a lot less than the weight of an average squid that weighs somewhere around 4.3 oz (122 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no such specific name given to the males and females of this species of light-emitting deep-sea animals.

What would you call a baby firefly squid?

A baby firefly squid, just like the adults, doesn't bear any special name.

What do they eat?

The natural food of these light-producing sea creatures is small fishes, shrimps, and crabs. As they are predators, they use the natural lights produced by their photophores to attract and catch prey.

Are they dangerous?

As they are predators, like the other predator animals, they are a bit dangerous in nature.

Would they make a good pet?

These light-producing squids require a specific habitat to satisfy their survival needs which is extremely difficult to imitate for humans. They won't make a good pet. Also, they are natural predators which implies that their food needs include hunting for food which is another difficult environment to create.

Did you know...

Firefly squids, as of now, are not endangered but their population is decreasing rapidly.

Firefly squids are considered a delicacy and are eaten in the form of various dishes.

Firefly squids are mostly found in the Toyama Bay, Japan where these squids show up annually during the spawning season. Due to this, the government has made this beach a natural monument.

Squids gather in millions along the shores to lay eggs during the breeding months which is a sight worth seeing.

Why does the firefly squid glow?

Firefly squids have photophores on their body that produce blue lights, and because of the production of these neon blue lights, they appear to be glowing.

What does the firefly squid taste like?

Squids are edible in nature, and because of this, the firefly squid in Japan is a legitimate delicacy. In Japan, these squids are served in various forms of dishes including the popular firefly squid sushi, which is extremely delicious and a top favorite of locals. The texture of a firefly squid is similar to an egg yolk and the taste is similar to shrimp livers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these coconut octopus facts and day octopus facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable squid coloring pages.

Firefly Squid Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Shrimps, small fish, and crabs

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivores

Average Litter Size?

5 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.31 oz (8.7 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

Twilight zones

Where Do They Live?

western pacific ocean, Toyama Bay

How Long Were They?

1.5-3 in (3.8-7.6 cm)

How Tall Were They?

2 in (5.08 cm)

Class

Cephalopoda

Genus

Watasenia

Family

Enoploteuthidae

Scientific Name

Watasenia scintillans

What Do They Look Like?

White, blue, yellow and emitting a strong blue light

Skin Type

Photophores

What Are Their Main Threats?

hunting and habitat loss

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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