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Why are moths attracted to light?

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Have you ever noticed moths fluttering around outdoor lights or the lamp in your room at night?

It’s a common sight, but why do they do this? Scientists have been studying moth behavior to find the answer, and they’ve come up with some fascinating explanations.

Moths, and some other insects, are often seen circling around lights. This might be because they’re getting mixed up, thinking the light from bulbs is actually moonlight. Moths have been around for millions of years, and they used to use the moon’s light to help them know which way to go. But our modern lights can confuse them.

A team of experts who study insects, known as entomologists, have discovered something really interesting. They think moths might be attracted to lights not just because they’re mistaking them for the moon, but also because of a trick in their biology that usually helps them fly correctly. Dr. Sam Fabian, a scientist from Imperial College London, shared that insects have always relied on the sky being lighter than the ground to figure out which way is up.

This natural guidance system helps them fly the right way up by making sure their back is facing the brighter side, which is usually the sky. But, when they come across artificial lights at night, it throws them off. They get confused and can’t tell up from down anymore. This confusion leads to the erratic, dizzy flying we often see near lights.

Dr. Fabian explained that when insects fly over a light source, they might even flip upside down and fall, which shows just how disoriented they can become. So, the next time you see moths dancing around a light, remember, they might be a little confused about which way is up!

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