Why are nocturnal flying insects attracted to bright lamps/lights?

If the insect is seeking heat or light, why not fly during the day?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Many nocturnal insects have evolved to navigate using moonlight. They aren't actually seeking light or heat, instead, their navigational abilities are disrupted by artificial light sources. You'll notice that if you look at street lights most of the insects flying around them will be flying in circles, presumably keeping one side of their body positioned toward the light source the same way they would the moon. The evolution nocturnal behavior itself among insects may be attributed to a variety of selection pressures including predation avoidance and food availability (e.g. flowers that bloom only at night), although the latter example is actually an example of coevolution.

    There is no logical reason to suggest the reason is that they are seeking warmth. Artificial light sources (e.g. gas lamps then electric lamps) have only been around the past 200 years or so. Prior to that insects faced thousands and thousands of years of selection pressures that drove the development of their behavior. It's unreasonable to suggest that a mere 200 years of selection pressures have led to insects developing the ability to perceive artificial light sources at heat sources from a distance as would be necessary for this kind of attraction as the proximity in which heat can be felt from an artificial light source is very limited. I'm not exactly basking in the warmth of the lightbulbs 6' above my head at the moment. Furthermore, to suggest they are drawn to the heat would suggest that they need the heat for some reason. It's true that nocturnal flying insects are ectotherms, but again these insects have evolved nocturnal behavior through thousands of years of selection pressures and their physiology (e.g. temperature requirements) has adapted in turn. Their metabolic processes function most efficiently at the temperatures to which they are adapted.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Ok i have no idea where you people get your facts. Bugs are attracted to lights because they are attracted to the moon and cant tell the difference. Its just a thing of naturehat the moon does, like create tides. This is why you ill often see bats and birds hanging out around lights, so they can get an easy meal. Pshhhh, warmth. Stupid. Bugs dont have a cerntral nervous system to feel the sensations of warmth.

  • 1 decade ago

    The ulraviolet light in the lamp attracts them because flowers use ultraviolet rays to direct insects to their pollen.

  • 1 decade ago

    Ultraviolet attracts the insects to the lamp as they want to get heatstroke!!!!!!

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  • 1 decade ago

    They are attracted to light for warmth.

  • 1 decade ago

    They're trying to read their street directories.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    they think it's the moon

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