Why my porch light is always surrounded by moths

Eran Levin in front of a blacklight screen. Eran Levin in front of a blacklight screen.

Eran Levin, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona studies Hawk Moths. He used a technique called backlighting to catch them and in the process catches numerous other insects as well.

Moths navigate by keeping bright objects like the moon and stars at a constant angle. It turns out that artificial light disrupts the moths's detection of moonlight. They end up using the artificial light source as a navigation cue and as a result wind up circling the light bulb to keep it at a constant angle.

Check out his blog entry in Scientific American for more information on backlighting and to see additional images of the insects he attracts using backlights.

 

 

 

More like this

Time once again for some of Igor Siwanowicz's spectacular insect photography. We've brought you his mantis photos in the past (#1 , #2, and #3) so we decided to switch it up and take a look at some of his moths. Unfortunately Igor doesn't tell us which species we are looking at, but maybe some of…
No one quite knows when the Light Brown Apple Moth arrived on the shores of California, but after DNA identification in 2007, it wasted no time pitting the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the populace of San Francisco against one another. Today the CDFA announced a new strategy…
BATS use sonar, or echolocation, to navigate complex environments, and also to forage and then accurately pinpoint the flying insects on which they prey. Insects in turn have evolved various counter-measures to evade capture. Some species have ears which are in tune to the echolocation signals,…
Brenthia hexaselena, a species of metalmark moth, flares its hind wings (HW) and spreads its forewings (FW) to mimic a jumping spider. In lab trials, spiders caught 6 percent of the metalmark moths presented to them, as opposed to 62 percent of other moth species. What's more, the spiders…

Moths are always interestes with glowing light.
Thank you.

Best Regards
Ilmu Kimia

By Ilmu Kimia (not verified) on 30 Sep 2013 #permalink