Abstract

Five species of insects were subjected to a large electric field. Each of the insects stimulated in this manner emitted visible glows of various colors and blacklight (uv). It is postulated that the Uintah Basin, Utah, nocturnal UFO display (1965–1968) was partially due to mass swarms of spruce budworms, Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens), stimulated to emit this type of St. Elmo’s fire by flying into high electric fields caused by thunderheads and high density particulate matter in the air. There was excellent time and spatial correlation between the 1965–1968 UFO nocturnal sightings and spruce budworm infestation. It is suggested that a correlation of nocturnal UFO sightings throughout the U.S. and Canada with spruce budworm infestations might give some insight into nocturnal insect flight patterns.

© 1978 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. F. B. Salisbury, The Utah UFO Display: A Biologist’s Report (Devin, Old Greenwich, Conn., 1974).
  2. C. G. Johnson, Migration and Dispersal of Insects in Flight (Methuen, London, 1969).
  3. S. Baron, The Desert Locust (Scribner’s, New York, 1972), p. 117.
  4. P. S. Callahan, Misc. Publ. Entomol. Soc. Am. 5, 315 (1967).
  5. R. Golde, Lightning Protection (Edward Arnold, London, 1973).
  6. M. Toth, Galaxies of Life, S. Krippner, Ed. (Gordon and Breach, New York1973).
  7. F. M. Penning, Electrical Discharges in Gases (Macmillan, New York, 1957).
  8. L. B. Loeb, Electrical Coronas, Their Basic Physical Mechanisms (California Press, Berkeley, 1965).
  9. E. Nasser, L. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 34, 3340 (1963).
    [CrossRef]
  10. L. B. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 19, 882 (1948).
    [CrossRef]
  11. O. G. Sutton, The Challenge of the Atmosphere (Harper’s, New York, 1961).
  12. A. Kamra, Nature 240, 143 (1972).
    [CrossRef]
  13. R. Gunn, J. Appl. Phys. 19, 481 (1948).
    [CrossRef]
  14. Battling the Budworm, Time 80 (28April1975).
  15. W. R. Henson, Can. Entomol. 83, 240 (1951).
    [CrossRef]
  16. W. G. Wellington, Can. Entomol. 77, 7 (1945).
    [CrossRef]
  17. “Forest Insect Conditions Report,” Fishlake and Ashley National Forests, U.S. Forest Service, Utah (1966).
  18. J. R. Blais, Can. Entomol. 85, 446 (1953).
    [CrossRef]
  19. E. U. Condon, Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, D. S. Gillmore, Ed. (Dutton, New York, 1969).

1972 (1)

A. Kamra, Nature 240, 143 (1972).
[CrossRef]

1967 (1)

P. S. Callahan, Misc. Publ. Entomol. Soc. Am. 5, 315 (1967).

1963 (1)

E. Nasser, L. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 34, 3340 (1963).
[CrossRef]

1953 (1)

J. R. Blais, Can. Entomol. 85, 446 (1953).
[CrossRef]

1951 (1)

W. R. Henson, Can. Entomol. 83, 240 (1951).
[CrossRef]

1948 (2)

L. B. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 19, 882 (1948).
[CrossRef]

R. Gunn, J. Appl. Phys. 19, 481 (1948).
[CrossRef]

1945 (1)

W. G. Wellington, Can. Entomol. 77, 7 (1945).
[CrossRef]

Baron, S.

S. Baron, The Desert Locust (Scribner’s, New York, 1972), p. 117.

Blais, J. R.

J. R. Blais, Can. Entomol. 85, 446 (1953).
[CrossRef]

Callahan, P. S.

P. S. Callahan, Misc. Publ. Entomol. Soc. Am. 5, 315 (1967).

Condon, E. U.

E. U. Condon, Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, D. S. Gillmore, Ed. (Dutton, New York, 1969).

Golde, R.

R. Golde, Lightning Protection (Edward Arnold, London, 1973).

Gunn, R.

R. Gunn, J. Appl. Phys. 19, 481 (1948).
[CrossRef]

Henson, W. R.

W. R. Henson, Can. Entomol. 83, 240 (1951).
[CrossRef]

Johnson, C. G.

C. G. Johnson, Migration and Dispersal of Insects in Flight (Methuen, London, 1969).

Kamra, A.

A. Kamra, Nature 240, 143 (1972).
[CrossRef]

Loeb, L.

E. Nasser, L. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 34, 3340 (1963).
[CrossRef]

Loeb, L. B.

L. B. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 19, 882 (1948).
[CrossRef]

L. B. Loeb, Electrical Coronas, Their Basic Physical Mechanisms (California Press, Berkeley, 1965).

Nasser, E.

E. Nasser, L. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 34, 3340 (1963).
[CrossRef]

Penning, F. M.

F. M. Penning, Electrical Discharges in Gases (Macmillan, New York, 1957).

Salisbury, F. B.

F. B. Salisbury, The Utah UFO Display: A Biologist’s Report (Devin, Old Greenwich, Conn., 1974).

Sutton, O. G.

O. G. Sutton, The Challenge of the Atmosphere (Harper’s, New York, 1961).

Toth, M.

M. Toth, Galaxies of Life, S. Krippner, Ed. (Gordon and Breach, New York1973).

Wellington, W. G.

W. G. Wellington, Can. Entomol. 77, 7 (1945).
[CrossRef]

Can. Entomol. (3)

W. R. Henson, Can. Entomol. 83, 240 (1951).
[CrossRef]

W. G. Wellington, Can. Entomol. 77, 7 (1945).
[CrossRef]

J. R. Blais, Can. Entomol. 85, 446 (1953).
[CrossRef]

J. Appl. Phys. (3)

R. Gunn, J. Appl. Phys. 19, 481 (1948).
[CrossRef]

E. Nasser, L. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 34, 3340 (1963).
[CrossRef]

L. B. Loeb, J. Appl. Phys. 19, 882 (1948).
[CrossRef]

Misc. Publ. Entomol. Soc. Am. (1)

P. S. Callahan, Misc. Publ. Entomol. Soc. Am. 5, 315 (1967).

Nature (1)

A. Kamra, Nature 240, 143 (1972).
[CrossRef]

Other (11)

E. U. Condon, Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, D. S. Gillmore, Ed. (Dutton, New York, 1969).

Battling the Budworm, Time 80 (28April1975).

“Forest Insect Conditions Report,” Fishlake and Ashley National Forests, U.S. Forest Service, Utah (1966).

R. Golde, Lightning Protection (Edward Arnold, London, 1973).

M. Toth, Galaxies of Life, S. Krippner, Ed. (Gordon and Breach, New York1973).

F. M. Penning, Electrical Discharges in Gases (Macmillan, New York, 1957).

L. B. Loeb, Electrical Coronas, Their Basic Physical Mechanisms (California Press, Berkeley, 1965).

O. G. Sutton, The Challenge of the Atmosphere (Harper’s, New York, 1961).

F. B. Salisbury, The Utah UFO Display: A Biologist’s Report (Devin, Old Greenwich, Conn., 1974).

C. G. Johnson, Migration and Dispersal of Insects in Flight (Methuen, London, 1969).

S. Baron, The Desert Locust (Scribner’s, New York, 1972), p. 117.

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Figures (5)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Saint Elmo’s fire from the steeple of a chapel in the Tyrolean Alps. Drawing by Jim Brogden.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

(Top) long-homed beetle, Tylocerina nodosus mounted in insulative rubber cement above the top of the Tesla coil. (Bottom) dorsal view of the long-horned beetle showing Saint Elmo’s fire from around the spiracles and the ovipositor (right) and head (left) of the beetle. Voltage about 2500.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Long-horned beetle, Tylocerina nodosus, lateral view showing tremendous glow from the antennae and lesser glows from the legs and tip of the feet. Voltage about 2500.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Predatory stink bug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, dorsal view showing glow from head (right) and tip of abdomen (left) and points of the pronotum. Voltage about 2500

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Map showing the major UFO sightings 1965–1968 (stars) in the Roosevelt-Vernal Uintah Basin and the major spruce budworm infestations 1965–1968 in the Uinta mountains 10–20 miles (16–32 km) north of the highways where most sightings occurred. Both the north and south slopes of the mountains were infested. The high ridge of the range runs east and west along the line of the map caption (Uinta Mountains). Convection thunder heads would certainly be common on the slopes.

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