Washington— Like moths to a flame, many scientists and poets It has been accepted for a long time flying insects They are easily and inevitably attracted to bright lights.
But in reality it does not happen, According to a new study.
Instead of being attracted to light, researchers think Artificial lights turned on at night can disrupt the innate navigation system of flying insects.Due to which they start fluttering in confusion around lamps, streetlights and other artificial lights.
“Insects have navigation problems”Biologist Tyson Hedrick said University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the study. “They are accustomed to using light as a clue to know which way is up.”
The insects do not fly directly toward the light source, but actually “tilt their heads toward the light,” said entomologist Sam Fabian. Imperial College of london and co-authors of the study published this Tuesday Nature Communications magazine,
This would make sense if the most intense light source were in the sky. But in the presence of artificial lights, the result is confusion in mid-flight, not attraction.
For the study, researchers attached tiny sensors to moths and dragonflies in a laboratory to film “motion capture” videos of flight, just as filmmakers do when they place sensors on actors’ bodies to track their movements.
They also used high-resolution cameras to film insects hovering around lights at a field site in Costa Rica.
This allowed them Study in detail how dragonflies fly in circles around light sources, placing its upper part towards the rays. He also commented that in the presence of a slightly upward shining light such as a spotlight some insects would turn on their backs and often fall to the ground.
The researchers found that the insects’ flight were less disturbed by light shining directly downwards.
“For millions of years, insects have been able to orient themselves by sensing when there is light in the sky and darkness on the ground,” until man invented artificial lightsaid Harvard entomologist Avalon Owens, who was not involved in the study.