insects & lights refs

Doug Yanega dyanega at
Tue Jun 2 13:18:33 EDT 1998

>Im a student from London
>                        Im tring to find information about why insects
>are attracted to light. Do you know of any studies into this area?
>Books, articles, thesis
>etc.  If so can email me please.
>        Anything is appreciated,

Well, I have this year-old message from Roger Kendrick in my archives that
might interest you:

Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 18:48:15 -0700
Reply-To: kendrick at
Sender: owner-leps-l at
From: "Roger C. KENDRICK" <kendrick at>
Subject: Re: Attraction to Lights

Dave Chesmore wrote:
> .....
> There seems to be very little about attraction of insects to light in the
> literature, and what there is appears to be inconclusive. ....
> Does anyone have any thoughts, comments or know of recent work
> relating to this?


the following references are extracted from my BSc 3rd year
dissertation; if you know of them already, my apologies for bothering
you, if not - hope you find something of use.

* Baker R.R. & Sadovy Y. (1978). The distance and nature of the
light-trap response of moths. Nature 276 : 818-821.

* Belton P. & Kempster R.H. (1963). Some factors affecting the catches
of Lepidoptera in light traps. The Canadian Entomologist 95 : 832-837.

* Bowden J. (1973). The influence of moonlight on catches of insects in
light-traps in Africa. Part I. The moon and moonlight. Bull. ent. Res.
63 : 113-128.

* Bowden J. (1982). An analysis of factors affecting catches of insects
in light traps. Bull. ent. Res. 72 : 535-556.

* Bowden J. & Church B.M. (1973). The influence of moonlight on catches
of insects in light-traps in Africa. Part II. The effect of moon phase
on light-trap catches. Bull. ent. Res. 63 : 129-142.

* Bowden J. & Morris M.G. (1975). The influence of moonlight on catches
of insects in light-traps in Africa. Part III. The effective radius of a
mercury vapour light trap and analysis of catches using effective
radius. Bull. ent. Res. 65 : 303-348.

* Brown E.S. (1970). Nocturnal insect flight direction in relation to
the wind. Proc. R. ent. Soc. Lond. (A). 45 (1-3) : 39-43.

* Dent D.R. & Pawar C.S. (1988). The influence of moonlight and weather
on catches of Helvicoverpa armigera (H|bner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in
light and pheromone traps. Bull. ent. Res. 78 : 365-377.

* Fisher R.A., Corbet A.S. & Williams C.B. (1943). The relationship
between the number of species and the number of individuals in a random
sample of an animal population. J. Anim. Ecol. 12 : 42-58.

* Heath J. (1970). Insect light traps. Leafl. Amat. Ent. Soc. no. 33. 15

* Kearns P.W.E. & Majerus M.E.N. (1987). Differential habitat selection
in the Lepidoptera: a note on deciduous versus coniferous woodland
habitats. Ent. Rec. J. Var. 99 : 103-106.

* Majerus M.E.N., Grigg A., Jones C., Salmon F., Strathdee A. &
Dearnaley N. (1994). Factors affecting habitat preferences in the
Lepidoptera.  Br. J. Ent. Nat. Hist. 7 : 129-137.

* McGeachie W.J. (1988). A remote sensing method for the estimation of
light-trap efficiency.  Bull. ent. Res. 78 : 379-385.

* Mikkola K. (1972). Behaviourial and electrophysiological responses of
night flying insects, especially Lepidoptera, to near-ultraviolet and
visible light. Ann. Zool. Fennici 9 : 225-254.

* Persson B. (1976). Influence of weather and nocturnal illumination on
the activity and abundance of populations of Noctuids (Lepidoptera) in
south coastal Queensland. Bull. ent. Res. 66 : 33-63.

* Robinson H.S. & Robinson P.J.M. (1950). Some notes on the observed
behavious of Lepidoptera in flight in the vicinity of light-sources
together with a description of a light trap designed to take
entomological samples. Ent. Gaz. 1 : 3-20.

* Siddorn J.W. & Brown P.S. (1971). A Robinson light trap modified for
segregating samples at predetermined time intervals, with notes on the
effect of moonlight on the periodicity of catches of insects. J. appl.
Ecol. 8 : 69-75.

* Strong D.R. (1979). Biogeographic dynamics of insect-host plant
communities. Annual Review of Entomology 24 : 89-119.

* Taylor L.R. (1963). Analysis of the effect of temperature of insects
in flight. J. anim. Ecol. 32 : 99-117.

* Taylor L.R. (1974). Insect migration, flight periodicity and the
boundary layer. J. Anim. Ecol. 43 (1) : 225-238.

* Taylor L.R. & Brown E.S. (1972). Effects of light-trap design and
illumination on samples of moths in the Kenya highlands.  Bull. ent.
Res. 62 : 91-112.

* Taylor L.R., French R.A. & Macauley E.D.M. (1973). Low altitude
migration and diurnal flight periodicity; the importance of Plusia gamma
L. (Lepidoptera: Plusiidae). J. Anim. Ecol. 42 (3) : 751-757.

* Vaishampayan S.M. & Verma R. (1982). Influence of moonlight and lunar
periodicity on the light-trap catches of grain pod-borer, Heliothis
armigera (Hb.) moths. Indian J. Ent. 44 : 206-212.

* Walker A.K. & Galbraith R.A. (1979). Collecting insects at lights: a
test of four types of lamp. New Zealand Entomologist 7 (1) : 83-85.

* Waring P. (1989). Comparison of light-trap catches in deciduous and
coniferous woodland habitats. Ent. Rec. J. Var. 101 : 1-10.

* Waring P. (1990). Abundance and diversity of moths in woodland
habitats. Ph.D. thesis (unpublished). Oxford Polytechnic. [now Oxford
Brookes University] **very comprehensive bibliography**

* Waring P. (1993). National Moth Conservation Project news bulletin 5.
Butterfly Conservation, Dedham, Essex

* Waring P. (1994). Moth traps and their use. British Wildlife 5 (3):

* Waring P. (1995). Letter to the Editor - Habitat preference in the
Lepidoptera and patterns of distribution in light-traps.  Br. J. Ent.
Nat. Hist. 8 : 155-156.

Hope this helps,

PhD student & Demonstrator, Dept of Ecology & Biodiversity
The University of Hong Kong
fax: (852) 24885285
mailto:kendrick at Hong Kong Moths
mail: Kadoorie Agricultural Research Centre
      The University of Hong Kong
      Lam Kam Road, Shek Kong,
      Yuen Long, New Territories
      Hong Kong

Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-449-2579, fax: 031-441-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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