‘Like a moth to a flame’ — this strange insect behaviour is finally explained

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Moths love a light bulb. And it’s not just moths — all sorts of insects congregate around artificial lights at night. But what makes these lights so apparently attractive?

Previous explanations have included the idea that confused insects are attempting to use the Moon to navigate, or that they’re being drawn to the heat rather than the light itself. Now, advances in camera technology have allowed researchers to study the flight of these insects in more detail than ever before, and revealed a new solution to the mystery.

Footage shows that flying insects seem to be twisting to keep their back to the light — a reflex known as a dorsal light response. Rather than being attracted towards it, they find themselves stuck in a loop flying around it …

Read the paper: Fabian et al.

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Source: Ecology -

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