Science Information

Why Dont Moths Fly to the Moon?


Surely, in the days before man invented artificial light, moths would have been attracted to the only light source at night - the moon. Wouldn't they have just kept on flying until they dropped from exhaustion? In fact does this not happen today in sparsely populated areas, where the moon is still the only night-light available?

Navigation
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no concrete answer - only theories. The prevailing theory of the moment is that many moths do not directly fly to light - and therefore wouldn't try to make a trek to the moon. No, what they do is use the moon as a navigational aid. If you wanted to keep moving in one direction and the moon was your only reference point, you would keep the moon at a particular angle to your direction of travel. For instance, you may keep the moon at 45 degrees to your left, and as the moon is relatively static in the sky, you would be sure to travel in the same direction.

"The Moon Just Moved!"
Now, to a moth, with its poor eyesight and fairly simply outlook on life, a street lamp that is only 3 feet away may look pretty much like the vast moon that is thousands of miles away. I guess that moths have never heard of the term "perspective". So, the moth makes its way past the lamp only to find that angle of the lamp is changing rapidly. So it corrects its flight to try to keep the lamp to its left. Just as it does so, the lamp has moved again? and so the moth just circles around the lamp.

Collision Course
The above covers the "circling" moths. There are, however, other species of moth that fly directly to light. I have not uncovered any accepted theories about this (please email me if you have any!). One possible explanation is that the moon is once again used as a navigational aid, but this time these "direct flyers" simply keep the moon in front of them in order to fly in a straight line. As there is no prospect of bumping into the moon this is as good a way as any to travel forwards. Remember that a moth's main purpose in life is to mate - and not to mate with the moon - so they would only use this navigational aid for limited journeys (until they found a mate). How are they to know that what they thought was the moon is actually a street lamp - no wonder a collision is inevitable!

General Moth Information
There are numerous species of moth and they can be a problem for stored food products, mainly through the risk of foreign bodies. Most moths are attracted to ultra violet light, although green light is often an even stronger attractant.

More information about moths can be found here. If you just think that moths are a nuisance you may want to look here for an insectocutor at http://www.eeeee.co.uk


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


WIRED

Science Isn't About 'the Truth'—It's About Building Models
WIRED
Science is not about believing. Too many things are known to be true that are beyond what we could imagine—and therefore believe. Who could have guessed that there are objects so massive that they bend light like a black hole? Who would have thought ...



Science Magazine

'Superlungs' gave dinosaurs the energy to run and fight
Science Magazine
The work sheds light on how birds' extraordinary lungs evolved, says Jingmai O'Connor, a paleontologist with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. “Birds are really weird compared ...

and more »


Science News

This cloud-zapping laser could help scientists create a quantum internet
Science News
Currently, cloudy weather limits scientists' ability to send data to satellites via lasers, because the clouds scatter the lasers' light. But a powerful, fast-pulsing laser can zap a tiny, cloud-free channel, allowing a second laser to slip through the ...

and more »


Science Magazine

Why are US neuroscientists are clamoring for marmosets?
Science Magazine
At a meeting here this week, convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's (NASEM's) Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, neuroscientist Jon Levine, who directs the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center at the ...



The Saratogian

Skidmore breaks ground on new science center
The Saratogian
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Skidmore College has broken ground on a new Center for Integrated Sciences, the single largest academic initiative in school history. The 200,000-square-foot building will put 10 science departments and programs under one ...



The Register

Science: Broke brats glued to the web while silk-stocking scions have better things to do
The Register
A new survey of teenagers reveals that children from poorer households use the internet more than those from richer homes, upending a common assumption about our online lives. In addition, richer kids use the internet in a more productive way, spending ...



Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)

Yes, ExxonMobil and Chevron are Still Distorting Climate Science
Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)
Misrepresenting climate science and underplaying the urgency of action allows companies to justify their business as usual practices all while climate impacts, including increasingly frequent and severe weather events such as Hurricanes Harvey and ...

and more »


WIRED

The Mad Science of Fermentation's Funky Flavors
WIRED
The Mad Science of Fermentation's Funky Flavors. Janelle Jones; Styling Priscilla Jeong. While some parts of the world—particularly Asia—have rich histories of using fermentation, more people across the US are making their own kimchi and sauerkraut, ...



Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)

Milwaukee Area Science Advocates Collaborate to End Lead Exposure
Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)
The Milwaukee Area Science Advocates (MASA) believes it is imperative to address the lead exposure problem, and that doing so requires working collaboratively with Milwaukee community organizations and residents. Thanks to generous support from the ...



Science News

Hurricane Willa breaks an eastern and central Pacific storm season record
Science News
From Hawaii to Mexico, powerful storms have buffeted a wide swath of the Pacific Ocean in 2018. Now, with Hurricane Willa bearing down on southwestern Mexico on October 23, the hurricane season across the central and eastern regions of the Pacific has ...

and more »

Google News

home | site map | Xray Photography
© 2006