WHY do insects fly towards the light?????

Just wondering seeing as how it doesn't seem to be working too well for the poor little guys... :)

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Moths (and other insects) will circle bright objects, and thus appear to be attracted to light. The favored hypothesis advanced to explain this behavior is that moths and other night insects use a technique of celestial navigation called transverse orientation. By maintaining a constant angular relationship to a bright celestial light, such as the Moon, they can fly in a straight line. Celestial objects are so far away, that even after traveling great distances, the change in angle between the moth and the light source is negligible; further, the moon will always be in the upper part of the visual field or on the horizon. Human light sources have not existed for long enough to affect the evolution of moth navigation systems. When a moth encounters a much closer artificial light and uses it for navigation, the angle changes noticeably after only a short distance, in addition to often being below the horizon. The moth instinctively attempts to correct by turning toward the light, causing airborne moths to come plummeting downwards, and - at close range - which results in a spiral flight path that gets closer and closer to the light source.

  • 1 decade ago

    This is a side-effect to their capacity to orientate themselves (I guess you mean moths or something). Let me explain:

    - There is much more moonlight and stellar light than lamps: we only see the insects that fly towards our flame/lamp but there are millions others who do not.

    - To find their way, especially to fly their way back they try to keep the angle with the (natural) light constant. As the have multifaceted eyes this probably consists simply of seeing the light in the same facet all the time.

    - This works when the light is very far away, i.e. when all the rays from the source are parallel.

    - In case of a lamp the insect is mislead. Try looking at a focus (light) from a constant angle while you progress, you will describe a perfect logarithmic spiral that converges to your focus.

    So flying into the light is certainly not a suicidal behaviour, it is simply a "bug" in their navigation system, which we bias with our lamps and fires etc.

    Source(s): I'm not a biologist but I just read about that in a good scientific magazine.
  • 1 decade ago

    Out in the wild, most (if not all) nocturnal insects steer by the moon - it's like their central lit point which acts as a guidance system. With the advent of electric lighting, the insects get confused and rather than flying towards the moon, fly straight for your lightbulbs.

  • 1 decade ago

    It does seem a little pointless seeing there's plenty of light to catch during the day. Maybe we just don't notice them in daylight hours and it's our perspective of them seeming less solitary in the night. Or maybe they are nocturnal and use the light to disorient predators whose senses are more finely tuned for darker conditions. A bit like when someone wants to leave the lights on when watching a horror movie. Also they might think it is daytime and instinctively follow the light because that's where the biggest leaves are in the daytime to hide under or munch on, or lay eggs. Last theory - it's driving them mental and they just fly at it in a vain attempt to extinguish it's deafening humm.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Insects are blind at night without some form of light. They will always fly toward the strongest light for that reason. Also, some lights give off heat when they are burning. Most insects do not sleep and need to keep moving to maintain body warmth in cooler temperatures. Since night is always cooler than daytime, and they need to move and cannot see, they automatically fly to the light to be able to see and keep warm at the same time.

  • 3 years ago

    1

    Source(s): Stunning Photography Expert http://PhotographyMasterclass.enle.info/?9R3H
  • 1 decade ago

    Insects are photo recipients they detect light and move towards it in order to find their food easily.Mostly the insect predators prey in dark so moving towards light is the best way to save their lives.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Fly with the moon on your right on the way to look for food, then comming back it needs to be on your left.

    Enter a light bulb and doh!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They are attracted to the light fly's are the same they don't see things the way we do.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Nocturnal insects get their bearings from the moon, they are confusing the lights for that.

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