Insects flocking to artificial lights may not know which way is up

New high-speed video suggests efforts to keep their backs to the light leads to erratic flight

Multiple images of a yellow brimstone butterfly are shown via motion capture. The insect is flying in circles, with its back pointing toward an illuminated tube light inside a flight arena at Imperial College London.

A brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni), shown in multiple locations using motion capture, tries to keep its back toward a tube light as it orbits it inside a laboratory at Imperial College London. This abnormal flight behavior around artificial light may make the insect lose its sense of direction.