Moths, primarily nocturnal insects, have evolved to travel by the light of the moon and stars. This way of travel is called transverse orientation. What moth evolution couldn’t account for was the proliferation of constant electric light in our modern world. When Thomas Edison patented the lightbulb on January 27, 1880 it was a bad day in moth history. Lightbulbs began to act as artificial moons, confusing moths and overwhelming their senses.

Key Takeaways:

  • Moths have navigated for millions of years by the light of the moon.
  • The method of travel is called transverse orientation.
  • Evolution couldn’t account for the proliferation of constant electric light.

“The story of the lamp and the moth is one of fatal attraction. The theory is that these primarily nocturnal insects have evolved to travel by the light of the moon and stars. This way of travel is called transverse orientation. An easy way to think about transverse orientation is to imagine a sailor traveling in the direction of the North Star. In theory, moths similarly follow the light source at a precise position and a precise angle to their bodies.”

Read more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul9HIX9YBbM