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Moth Activities


Moth Navigation for Kids

Have you ever wondered about moth navigation? Why do moths fly toward candle flames and lamps? Maybe their moth navigation system doesn't work very well. No, that's not it -- they're confused by the light. Keep reading to better understand why moths are attracted to flames and artificial light -- and for interesting moth navigation activities for kids.

What You'll Need:

Street (with street lamp)

On a night when the moon is full, stand outside on the sidewalk where you can see the moon. Turn your head so that you see the moon over one shoulder. Now, walk down the sidewalk and watch the moon over your shoulder. Notice that you don't have to move your head as you walk -- the moon seems to follow you. (It doesn't really, of course.)

Now find a lit street lamp. Look over one shoulder at it. Walk and watch the lamp over the same shoulder. Do you feel like you're walking in circles? To keep the lamp over the same shoulder, you have to walk around it.

Moths use the moon to navigate. The moon doesn't move out of position if the moth flies in a straight line. But street lamps are confusing. If the moth flies in a straight line, it thinks the lamp's position has changed. As the moth continues, the lamp "moves" again. The moth flies in circles, moving closer and closer until it is trapped.

If you'd like to try moth watching with a close-up view, keep reading -- the next page has some great ideas.

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