The elves call these small insects Dalór (Styrásh dalór,"rising/moving spark") while the humans call them "Sparkers" and the northern barbarians "Aek'oriot". Whatever their name, few can watch the twinkling tapestry of blinking lights without being moved by it.
Appearance. There are many types of Dalór and each differs slightly depending on their habitat. In general, they range in size from just under a nailsbreadth to a little over two nailsbreadths. They have soft-shelled bodies, which are flat and brown or black in color. Most have markings on their thorax or backside areas. They have six legs, small heads and thorax with the majority of length in their backsides. They also have translucent wings that fold under the shells of their abdomen.
Picture description. Close view on a Dalór insect and its swarm in the background lighting up the nightsky. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.
The forest Dalór is a nailsbreadth long and black in color with luminescent green markings on the backsides. They prefer to come out late at night and their flash has a green coloring. They usually start appearing in late spring and are gone by the middle of summer.
The plains Dalór can be broken up into two groups, the northern and southern. They both are two nailsbreadths long and a gray brown in color. The southern ones have orange markings on their thorax and backsides and give off a clear white flash. The northern ones have dark red markings on their backsides and give off a white flash that have tinges of amber to it. They both prefer to come out at dusk until late night. They also start to appear in late spring and last until late summer.
The water Dalór are so named because they are only seen flying over water sources, such as ponds, oases or rivers. They are a dark brown and just about a nailsbreadth long. They have white or yellowish-white markings on their thorax and backsides and give off a soft yellow flash. They are most commonly seen at dusk and just before sunrise. Dalór also appear only a few weeks in early spring and in late fall.
All Dalór begin life in a larva stage, known as glowworms, and look basically the same. They are a yellowish white in color when seen in the day and ridged along their length making them appear segmented. At night these larval worms glow white with a greenish tint to it. Until recently, Dalór and glowworms were considered two separate insects.
Special Abilities. The Dalór has the ability to make the underside of their abdomen to glow, which they blink off and on at will. They use a pattern of flashes as love calls to find mates or as a signal of danger to other Dalór. For example, if a Dalór is trapped in some way the pattern will tell others to stay away. The flashes also are a kind of warning to birds and other insects that they are not good to eat, as the chemical to make these flashes is very bitter.
Territory. The Dalór can be found from the oases of Aeruillin in the south to the fringes of the Plain of Ehelvin in Northern Sarvonia and from the Isles of R'unor in the east to the western shores of Nybelmar.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Dalór are nocturnal insects and do all their mating, feeding and movement then. During daylight hours, the Dalór sleeps in bushes or on the leaves of low hanging trees. Mature Dalór live only a few short weeks. During that time their whole existence is eating to maintain energy, mate and lay the eggs of their young. The young, or glowworms, can live up to a year in the ground. The last month is in a silk cocoon where it metamorphoses into a mature Dalór to emerge above ground. Most prefer to be close to a water source of some kind. Except for the water Dalór, this is not a requirement, but higher concentrations of insects can be found near these water sources.
Diet. The Dalór is believed to feast on pollen and nectar. The larvae, on the other hand, live in the ground and feed on snails and slugs. The larvae are able to detect the trails of their prey, and follow them until the catch is made. They then inject a substance into their prey, which immobilizes it.
Mating. As stated the flash of the Dalór is a love call and is the way they find each other for mating. Both male and females flash, using a personal code during courtship. When two seem to match up in this code they will then mate several times during the next few days. The ones flashing in flight are the males, while the females sit in the tall grasses or on leaves and respond by flashing their light. Female Dalór produce about 500 eggs, which they commonly lay on the underside of leaves, in-groups of five to seven. This is done throughout the respective season of their type. Within ten days, the eggs turn to larva, where they fall to the ground and begin the next life cycle of a Dalór.
Information provided by Thuja