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UV Light in the desert

In the Desert

Fluorescent Animals

Insects under a UV light

Greg Watson facilitated these publications!

   Greg Watson has spent quite a bit of time now in the desert with the new Convoy S2+ 365nm Longwave UV LIght and besides using it for finding different minerals that are fluorescent, he's discovered some plant material (lichens) and some reptiles and insects that share this ability. This will only be possible with the light listed below with the Nichia UV LED .
   Here's what Greg says about this new light:

You just don't realize how many things out there fluoresce.

   The above links were added here to give you an idea of the cost involved to enjoy this really unique hobby. If you spend time in the desert, then this is just another way to see some of the neat geologic and animal wonders that exist there.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases - please help us maintain the site, it's appreciated!

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Gecko under UV light

Gecko Under a UV light.

   "Rattlesnakes don't fluoresce nearly as brightly as scorpions, so an ultraviolet light is NOT a good way to find them. That's especially true if the snake is within an area littered with fluorescent twigs and leaves. Also, the fluorescence isn't readily detectable with the cheap ultraviolet flashlights commonly available. They emit too much visible purple light that overwhelms the fluorescence from the invisible ultraviolet light. The light I used for these photos has a special filter that blocks almost all of the purple visible light. It's also a shorter wavelength (365 nm versus 395 nm for the commonly available ultraviolet flashlights). The shorter wavelength produces brighter fluorescence. The improved light used here is very affordable, but you need to also buy the add-on filter that blocks its visible light output - the add-on filter is very inexpensive. See Don Gilmore's comment below for several sources to purchase them".

Reptiles under a UV light

Article updated 10-5-19

Sidewinder Rattlesnake
Sidewinder Rattlesnake

   Greg: I used a tripod to get better results. These are two Mojave Desert Sidewinder Rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerastes cerastes) and were photographed in the Mojave Desert in Ca. The UV flashlight listed below was used to illuminate them.

   A perfect example of how a good 365nm light can bring the fluorescence out in reptiles. The gecko photo at the top of the page was taken by Chet Steele who used Greg's flashlight for the photo.

All the below photos by Greg Watson

   Mouse over the photo to the right to see how this sidewinder looked under a UV light ----

Scorpion un UV light
Desert Scorpion

Lichens under a UV light

   We all know that scorpions have the ability to fluoresce under UV light, and many people want a UV light just for that purpose. But there are other things in the desert that a UV light can be handy for. See the enlargement to see why ---

   Camel Spider / Wind Scorpion and yes they are fluorescent also. In fact you can see the fine hairs on his body and legs that are not normally visible under a normal white light. See the enlargement for more detail ----

More detail see ----

   Here's a great comparison of a Scorpion under regular white light and then the same scorpion under the Convoy S2+ 365nm UV light.

   Mouse over the photo to the right to see how this scorpion looked under a UV light ----

   Who would have thought that a Katydid would also Fluoresce under a UV light?

   Mouse over the photo to the right to see how this scorpion looked under a UV light ----

More detail see ----


   Apparently some Lichens are also fluorescent under a good UV light. Greg has given us 2 great examples here.

   Mouse over the photos to the right to see how these lichens looked under a UV light ----

More detail see ----

Convoy S2+ 365nm Longwave UV Light

Convoy S2+ 365nm UV Flashlight

   There are a lot of UV flashlights available on web sites. There is only one that we recommend for night time use in the desert. Here you'll find links to this flashlight, the UV lens and the batteries. Don't be fooled the Convoy S2+ is the only UV light that really works! See more about the batteries below. 

   Convoy S2+ 365nm Longwave Mineral LIght uses a Nichia LED, they are well known for the quality of their LED's. It is an LED and is powered by a 18650 rechargeable lithium battery, (not included with the light). It has a working distance of 10 meters or more and is reasonably priced. You will also want the inexpensive UV Bandpass Filter to give you pure UV light, it's easy to install, instructions HERE
Purchase at
Purchase at
Purchase the UV Bandpass Filter at

18650 Batteries and Charger

   What's the big deal about the batteries, there are 100's of them available. It's not a big deal until your battery dies when you need it, or it swells up or explodes or won't take a charge anymore. The batteries we have shown here may not be available, but the links provided below will get you to excellent batteries that will work with your UV flashlight. Amazon has a large variation of different manufactures that can supply these batteries. See the links below for up to date suppliers.

   Batteries and Charger on AMAZON

Buy the batteries on AMAZON

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