Nighttime Ultraviolet Light Trap

September 25, 2015

A both fun and interesting way to observe insects at night is to set-up a UV light trap.  The type of trap we set-up from time to time consists of a 4′ UV spectrum fluorescent tube with a thin white sheet draped over it.  This “trap” is not a trap in the capturing sense – animals can come and go as they please. Insects are attracted to the light and land on (or walk to) the sheet, allowing for easy viewing and identification.  It is not completely understood why insects are attracted to lights at night, but the most likely explanation is that they are attempting to use these visible wavelengths as a form of navigation. On this evening over 50 different species of arthropods came to visit, and of these 32 were new additions to the GNG species list.

Below is a sampling of who came to the latest Gottlieb Native Garden Black Light Party.  Be sure to click on each image for an enlarged, detailed view.

In the garden looking southeast toward Los Angeles.
In the garden looking southeast toward Los Angeles.

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