PINCH: Don’t look into the light!

Photo by OrangeacidWhy are flies so attracted to lights? Well, there are many explanations for this behaviour and not one of them is definite,  so I guess you could say that we simply don’t know. But one of the most convincing explanations I’ve found is this: they confuse it with the moon.

During night-times insects use the moon as a navigational tool (for day flying insects this is the sun). They use it to fly straight lines in relation to it. But whenever they see a man made and much brighter light, they get confused. They will try to coordinate a straight line in relation to the light bulb. Unfortunately the light bulb is much to close, so they start to circle.

So next time you’re annoyed by a humming noise, consider this: they are probably just as annoyed as you are!

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3 responses to “PINCH: Don’t look into the light!

  1. This is indeed the reason. The flies are genetically programmed to navigate linearly across parallel light rays (sun, moon are distant). The artificial lights have radial rays due to their finite distances and hence the flies trying to follow the linear path tend to spiral into the flame. This explains their suicidal behaviour.

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