MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Are moths or other insects attracted to heat instead of light?

Date: Fri Nov 24 11:24:55 2000
Posted By: June Wingert, RM(NRM),Associate Scientist
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 974940477.Zo


The other bug that is attracted to you is probably what they call the
no seeums. They are attracted to the warmth of your body which is called 
thermotrophism, They are from the Family Ceratopogonidae.
The adults are small vicious blood suckers. The adults can transmit viral 
The wings are held flat over  the abdomen The larvae breed in aquatic areas or 
wet soil along water.

Many insects seem to be attracted to or repelled by light
(phototropism). Moths are attracted to artificial light and moonlight
but avoid sunlight. Butterflies react in the opposite way. Cockroaches
in a dark room hide when a light is turned on.
Many people worry that  headlice can be caught from
"common areas" such as lounge & car seats. The
likelihood of this occurring is very low. Headlice are
"heat-seeking" insects, & will generally not leave the
head at all, unless of course, it is to move to a better looking head (!) Even 
if they
do happen to land on your lounge, carpets or car  seats, they will not last 
longer than 
48 hours off the head.

Here are some interesting facts about Moths and their attraction to light
Moths navigate using the light of the Moon as a steady reference
point; they fly in a straightish line keeping the Moon on one side.
When a bright artificial light is present they try to do the same thing -
but to keep it in a fixed position they end up flying round in circles.
The brightness of the light disorientates them and their orbits get
smaller and smaller until eventually they hit the light. Moths became
nocturnal during evolution; this is a behavioral adaptation which avoids
daytime predators. Which are more numerous than their night-time
counterparts. To allow communication in the dark, many moths
species have pheromonal ('smelly hormone') systems whereby
individuals can detect each other from distances of several kilometres.      

Check out the following site to find out how to build a moth trap.

Thanks for taking the time to send in a question to the Mad Scientists Network.

June Wingert
Mad Scientist

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