Why are insects like moths attracted towards light?



According to expert opinion insects are attracted towards light for self preservation. Insects are attracted to light because their search for food and mates is dependent on light. For example, some moths witch thrive on cotton use moonlight to direct them to cotton farms. These moths are equipped with tiny antennae. The shadow of tips of antennae must fall on certain spots in their eyes – and if it does not, then the moths suitably alter direction of their travel to bring the shadow back on those spots in the eyes, with the result that they do not lose their way even in the night. Moths which survive on the leaves of tobacco plants also find their way by moonlight just like the moths which eat leaves of cotton plants.

It may happen sometimes in the night that what appears to be the Moon may turn out to be a bulb of light. Even a candle could be mistaken for the Moon. Having come in close proximity of such a source of light and to keep tiny dots of shadow centered on its eyes the moth keeps on flying around the light. Only then the shadow can be kept constantly centered on those spots in the eyes. But, when flying around in circles some moths collide with the electric bulb -- and if there happens to be a candle instead of electric bulb then they instantly burn to death.

More reading:
Moth (Wikipedia)


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