The response of a BGO scintillator to He, C, Ne, Si and Ar ions has been studied at incident energies from 120 MeV up to 18 GeV for the first time. The energy of incident beam was changed by inserting an absorber of various thicknesses made of PMMA plates. The primary particles were identified and separated from projectile fragments by using the Δ E- E counter telescope method. A thin NE102A plastic scintillator and a BGO scintillator were used as a Δ E counter and a residual E detector, respectively. The energy of the primary particles was deduced by comparing the depth-dose distribution measured by an ionization chamber to those by a theoretical calculation. The light output of the BGO scintillator was found to be linear in this energy region. The dependency of the light output on the particle species was well indexed as a function of log (AZ 2).