We all love a fun night out – a nice restaurant, jamming with a favorite band, or dancing until our feet hurt. But during quarantine, opportunities for a traditional night out were limited.

To remedy this, Florida Museum and University of Florida scientists joined forces to showcase some of The Best Nightlife in Town…  Gainesville’s nocturnal insects!

We zoomed with six entomologists who set up light sheets in their own backyards to entice insects working the night shift. The scientists began by showing off their setups and explained why using light on a dark night works to attract many bugs. Headlamps and handheld scopes allowed our researchers to show off some exciting six-legged visitors, even in low-light conditions! Although this event was catch-and-release, we took time to discuss why research collections are so valuable, and why it’s still important for scientists to continue collecting today.

Over 180 participants tuned in from around the globe and were able to ask our scientists questions throughout the program. We discussed giant hornets, the origin of Pokémon, favorite insects, moths that don’t have mouths, and so much more!

This type of night out is always a blast, so check out the recorded event and meet the bugs in your own backyard!

Participating scientists

Dr. Akito Kawahara
Associate Curator
Florida Museum of Natural History
Kawahara Lab

Matthew Standridge (Research Technician), Kristin Rossetti (Research Assistant), Sarah Steele Cabrera (Research Assistant)
Florida Museum of Natural History
Daniels Lab

Dr. Andrea Lucky 
Assistant Professor
University of Florida Entomology and Nematology Department
Lucky Lab

Dr. Jiri Hulcr 
Associate Professor
University of Florida Forest Resources & Conservation


This event was originally held by Zoom on May 23, 2020. Event guests were encouraged to ask participants questions throughout the event. Guests were also sent:

  • instructions for setting up your own insect observation station
  • a recipe for themed beverages (bug juice for all ages!)
  • a curated playlist created just for this special night