Why and how are insects attracted to night lights

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LookDeepr
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Why and how are insects attracted to night lights

Post by LookDeepr »

I am at the very beginning of my macro journey, and in my readings so far the "moth screen" has come up as a preferred way to attract (and photograph) night insects. But even before this, having seen how night insects buzz around any sufficiently intense light, I have often asked myself, WHY? This question was even more pressing to me considering that in some cases the fly-by was at their peril.

This is where the article in the link below proposes an answer. Quick read, and fascinating. There is also a video to go with the story. I hope you will enjoy it and it will shed new light (pun intended) on your night time macro stacking ...

https://theconversation.com/the-surpris ... sky-221387

Lou Jost
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Re: Why and how are insects attracted to night lights

Post by Lou Jost »

It is nice to see empirical research on this mysterious subject, and their explanation is novel and interesting. I have my doubts though. My own kitchen window attracts moths, wasps, and rhinoceros beetles at night. The rhinoceros beetles in particular repeatedly crash head-on into the window, and moths also often flutter or hover (in the case of sphinx moths) against the window head-first, continuously pushing forward towards the light. And many insects land on the window and stay there, with their backs facing the darkness.

RobertOToole
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Re: Why and how are insects attracted to night lights

Post by RobertOToole »

The interesting part is its not just insects....

One of the most amazing things I've ever seen was on a live aboard dive boat in Raja Ampat, West Paupa, Indonesia. A 10,000 watt light at night brought in clouds of insects, rhinocerous beetles, moths, flies, then clouds of plankton under the light and then fish and others to have a free snack, all kinds of squid, every reef fish imaginable, rays, birds, bats were skimming fish off the surface, the reef fish brought pelagics, sharks, wahoo!, bigger and bigger fish, then we even saw groupers coming up and gulping everything down. Every night.

That is something I'll never forget (that and the sardine run in KZA)

RA has the record, or at least used to have the record for most coral sp. most reef fish sp, and most fish sp in one place. I think the count was 350 fish sp on a single dive and 300 coral sp on a single dive, I forgot the specifics figures.

Lou Jost
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Re: Why and how are insects attracted to night lights

Post by Lou Jost »

That sounds magical Robert!

RobertOToole
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Re: Why and how are insects attracted to night lights

Post by RobertOToole »

Lou Jost wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2024 7:21 am
That sounds magical Robert!
The fishing bats were something I would never have even dreamed of seeing. They were taking turns coming in and feasting on fish.

It was a little scary and uncomfortable when the larger pelagic fish came in though so I got out. Even on deck wasn't safe. Something big was in the water, maybe a bill fish? Anyway the pelagics were leaping in the air. The first night a huge 5 foot Wahoo (do you know these Lou?) leapt into the open back deck of the boat and landed on the camera equipment. We ended up having that fish for dinner.

Nice memories.

Lou Jost
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Re: Why and how are insects attracted to night lights

Post by Lou Jost »

I hadn't realized there were pelagic fishing bats. Very cool. We had big fishing bats in freshwater Amazonian lakes. Amazing how they could catch fish in the dark.

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