Artificial lighting impairs mate attraction in a nocturnal capital breeder

Stewart, Alan J A, Perl, Craig D and Niven, Jeremy E (2020) Artificial lighting impairs mate attraction in a nocturnal capital breeder. Journal of Experimental Biology, 223 (19). ISSN 0022-0949

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Artificial lighting at night (ALAN) is increasingly recognised as having negative effects on many organisms, though the exact mechanisms remain unclear. Glow worms are likely susceptible to ALAN because females use bioluminescence to signal to attract males. We quantified the impact of ALAN by comparing the efficacy of traps that mimicked females to attract males in the presence or absence of a white artificial light source (ALS). Illuminated traps attracted fewer males than did traps in the dark. Illuminated traps closer to the ALS attracted fewer males than those further away, whereas traps in the dark attracted similar numbers of males up to 40m from the ALS. Thus, ALAN impedes females’ ability to attract males, the effect increasing with light intensity. Consequently, ALAN potentially affects glow worms’ fecundity and long-term population survival. More broadly, this study emphasises the potentially severe deleterious effects of ALAN upon nocturnal insect populations.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Artificial lighting at night (ALAN), visual ecology, transect, sexual selection, mate attraction, mate choice
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 07:35
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2021 01:00

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