Team Sheds New Light on Old Insect Mystery

A team that includes FIU’s Jaime Theobald have provided new insight into an old mystery. Why do moths and other insects fly in a frenzy around artificial light, even to the point of endangering themselves? “This has been a prehistorical question,” Theobald says. “It turns out all our speculations about why it happens have been wrong.”

The team used high-speed cameras to map the movements of hundreds of insects. It turns out that, in flight, the insects kept their backs to the artificial light, just as they keep their backs to the sky to know which way is up and control their flight. This otherwise helpful behavior traps insects that try to orient to the “imposter sky” created by the artificial light.

View Related Expert Profiles: Go to Source

Keyword Search