Can Moths see Infrared?

bob hoffman hoffmanr at
Sun Sep 12 23:55:03 EDT 1999

I have several cheap TV cameras mounted around the property which I use
to keep an eye on the local wildlife and juvenile deliqienents. I
provide illumination for the cameras at night with several strings of
infrared LED's powered by the same 12 volt supply as the cameras.Each of
these LED arrays will illuminate to about 60 feet from the cameras at a
wavelength of 880 nm. This arrangement also illuminates any moths or
other insects which flies through the infrared illumination. Most of
these moths fly directly through the infrared illumination probably
unaware they are illuminated. I have observed one species which when
entering the infrared field will make an abrupt 180 degree turn and fly
away from the light source back along its original course. As the
cameras are of medoicre quality, I can only see a somewhat blurry inage
of the insect, which looks like some type of moth, as it performs its
evasive manuver. I only see these insects in the spring and early
summer. I am located in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. I know
moths can see some ultraviolet as well as visible light, but I was
unaware some could detect infrared. Does anyone know of this ability in
moths (or other flying insect) and posibly what species it may be?

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