By Tom Gillespie @TomGillespie1

SWARMS of fireflies illuminate the undergrowth in a Japanese forest - providing an enchanting night-time spectacle

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Fireflies pepper the air with gold lights in the dark of the forest

The tiny insects make it appear like someone has been painting with light, as they fly through the night at the beginning of the rainy season.

These beautiful photographs were captured on Shikoku - the smallest of Japan's four main islands.

The swarm of fireflies looks as if someone has thrown a splash of gold paint onto a canvas

Photographer Kei Nomiyama has visited the area every year since 2012 to captures the enchanting images. 

Nature-lover Kei works as an environmental chemistry researcher - with a focus on how pollution has a detrimental effect on wildlife.

The fireflies tend to emerge in great numbers during the start of Japan's rainy season

The 36-year-old, who lives in Matsuyama, the island's capital, said: "I'm charmed by the fantastic view created by the fireflies when they fly.

"It makes the forest seem like a place where fairies live. 

"When I'm looking at this view I can feel calm and relaxed."

Kei used a long exposure to capture magical images of the fireflies in motion

Kei captured the photos using a long exposure - where the lens of the camera would have been open for between 5 and 15 minutes. 

Fireflies produce their stunning glow through a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, which usually occurs in organs in the insect's lower abdomen.

The insects contain a light-emitting compound called luciferin, which is what gives them their distinctive glow.