At night, a lot of things are going to sleep, including most humans, but after dark is the perfect time for some wildlife to wake up and come out. Nocturnal creatures have less competition for food, less predators, and often specialized senses to help them survive in their low light environment. People think of mammals and birds when they picture nocturnal things, but we’re going to focus on something a little different and smaller!

At night, many backyards come alive with countless insects that just aren’t seen during the day. The insect group has the largest number of species in the world, and make up a lot of the biodiversity on the planet. They are very important for pollination, and an integral part of the food chain. They also have to use their senses very differently than us humans do.

At Rondeau, we have many interesting nocturnal insects that make the night quite interesting. One which many are familiar with is the little insect that lights up the night. They’re known as fireflies, or to some lightning bugs. These winged insects are a member of the beetle family. Most people know how fireflies got their name. It’s due to their ability to light up their abdomen. They have specialized ‘light organs’, which allow them to glow. These insects take oxygen into these special organs, which combines with a substance known as luciferin to produce light. It might surprise you to know that it takes almost no heat or energy for the firefly to do this.

Fireflies flash their abdomen at night to attract a mate. Each species of firefly has a different flash pattern that they use. Females lay their eggs in the ground. When the larvae hatch, they feed on worms and slugs by injecting them with a numbing fluid. Their glowing abdomen also warns their prey that they are not a tasty treat!







Moths are also a type of insect that does best at night.  Many people picture moths as bland, brown-ish coloured insects that fly at their patio lights as the night begins to set in.  However, moths are one special nocturnal insect!  They fly at a constant angle in relation to the moon so they can navigate around.  When artificial lights are near moths, they become confused and often fly repeatedly at the source of the light. 

 Moths are also very sensitive to smells, and use this to their advantage.  Looking for a mate in the dark can be a difficult thing.  Moths use their excellent sense of smell to find their partners.  The females of most species will emit an odour or pheromone that can be smelled by males a few kilometres away!  The distance the male can smell all depends on the species. 

 If their use of smell and light weren’t cool enough, some moths have actually developed a way to avoid one of their biggest predators… the bat.  Some species of tiger moths emit a sound, which is similar to the one that bats use in echolocation.  This sound confuses the bat and essentially ‘jams’ their echolocation.  The confused bat can no longer find them in the dark, and the tiger moth escapes unscathed. 

 Join us for some of our night hikes in hopes of seeing some of these interesting nocturnal insects that call Rondeau home!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Memberships Available
Become a friend of Rondeau today...