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 Why are night-active bugs attracted to light?

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FleurDeLis
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PostSubject: Why are night-active bugs attracted to light?   Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:53 am

I must have slept through that biology class ... I just don't get it. Why are they attracted to artificial light? Aren't they supposed to cherish the dark? I mean, the darkness of the night is their time of activity, why don't they come out during the day if they want light. And why don't they try to fly to the moon, after all that's a natural source of light at night?
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PostSubject: Re: Why are night-active bugs attracted to light?   Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:25 pm

Sciencebits wrote:
Phototaxis is an organism’s automatic movement toward or away from light. Cockroaches are negatively phototactic. Turn on that kitchen light and off they scurry to their dark little holes. But many insects are positively phototactic – as evidenced by teh mass bug graves in your light fixtures. Many people are also phototactic, especially for the “limelight” – those of us who secretly crave the strobe fusillade of paparazzi flashbulbs and murmer, “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” in our dreams… But, back to bugs. There are a variety of reasons that various insects are positively phototactic. Many insects, including bees, orient themselves in relation to the sun. Certain nocturnal bugs – moths, for instance – use moonlight to navigate, flying at a certain angle to the moon’s light rays to maintain a straight trajectory. When it approaches a source closer than the moon – say, a lightbulb – a moth perceives the light as stronger in one eye than the other, causing one wing to beat faster, so it flies in a tightening spiral, ever closer the the light. Some bugs are sensitive to ultraviolet light reflected by flowers at night. Artificial lights that emit UV rays will also be attractive to these guys. Other bugs are drawn to the heat that incandescent bulbs produce at night. Fireflies are bugs and bulbs all in one. They use their bioluminescence to attract each other.

(Source)



Interesting stuff. I learned something new today.

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