idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Nachrichten, Termine, Experten

Grafik: idw-Logo
Thema Corona

Imagefilm
Science Video Project
idw-News App:

AppStore



Teilen: 
17.03.2021 14:13

Fatal attraction

Stephan Laudien Abteilung Hochschulkommunikation/Bereich Presse und Information
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

    Biologists from the University of Jena publish study on the relationship between flying insects and light pollution

    Jena, the “city of light”, has its dark sides. If you look up at the night sky from the city centre, you can only make out the brightest stars. Lighting in the streets and shop windows is too bright, obscuring the view of the night sky. However, the consequences of this “light pollution” are much more devastating for nocturnal insects. Attracted by the light, they can no longer find mates, lay eggs or pollinate plants. “Light pollution probably plays a significant role in insect mortality,” says Dr Gunnar Brehm of Friedrich Schiller University Jena. The biologist and his team have recently published a new study in the journal “Insect Conservation and Diversity” on how strongly insects are attracted to light.

    The shortest wavelength is most attractive to insects

    The scientists installed an extensive experimental setup in the old lecture hall of Jena’s Children’s Hospital. In this setup, different light sources were offered to 6,116 moths from 95 species. Most of the species were native, supplemented by some from other areas. It was then meticulously recorded which insect flew towards which light. Almost all species headed for the light sources, according to one of the results, with the males being somewhat more active.

    “Our study clearly shows that in each case the shortest wavelength attracted far more insects than green or red light, for example,” says Gunnar Brehm. The effect on moths is problematic because at least 90 percent of the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are nocturnal. When exposed to high levels of light pollution, they are no longer able to pollinate, which causes major ecological – and presumably also economic – damage. Fewer insects also mean fewer birds and bats, which leads to increased losses of species.

    It is not only that light pollution is increasing worldwide by two per cent annually. The properties of the light used have also undergone drastic changes. Many municipalities have converted their street lighting to LEDs and the new light has a much higher proportion of short-wave blue radiation. Old fluorescent lights and metal halide lights, which can contain UV radiation, are also especially problematic, says Brehm.

    The results also showed that blue light strongly attracts insects. This means that the orange sodium vapour lamps used in the past were far more insect-friendly than modern LED lamps. Warm white LEDs with colour temperatures below 3000 K are therefore probably the most sensible alternative at present, says Brehm. “Orange or red light would actually be ideal.” Wherever possible, light should be used in a targeted fashion, sparingly, with long wavelengths and limited in time. That would allow us to see the Milky Way again in residential areas.


    Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

    Dr Gunnar Brehm
    Institute of Zoology and Evolutionary Biology of Friedrich Schiller University Jena
    Erbertstraße 1, 07743 Jena, Germany
    Tel.: +49 (0)3641 / 949184
    E-mail: gunnar.brehm(at)uni-jena.de


    Originalpublikation:

    Brehm et al: Moths are strongly attracted to ultraviolet and blue radiation DOI: 10.1111/icad.12476


    Weitere Informationen:

    http://www.uni-jena.de


    Merkmale dieser Pressemitteilung:
    Journalisten, Wissenschaftler
    Bauwesen / Architektur, Biologie, Umwelt / Ökologie
    überregional
    Forschungsergebnisse
    Englisch


    Short-wave blue light in particular attracts nocturnal insects.


    Zum Download

    x

    Hilfe

    Die Suche / Erweiterte Suche im idw-Archiv
    Verknüpfungen

    Sie können Suchbegriffe mit und, oder und / oder nicht verknüpfen, z. B. Philo nicht logie.

    Klammern

    Verknüpfungen können Sie mit Klammern voneinander trennen, z. B. (Philo nicht logie) oder (Psycho und logie).

    Wortgruppen

    Zusammenhängende Worte werden als Wortgruppe gesucht, wenn Sie sie in Anführungsstriche setzen, z. B. „Bundesrepublik Deutschland“.

    Auswahlkriterien

    Die Erweiterte Suche können Sie auch nutzen, ohne Suchbegriffe einzugeben. Sie orientiert sich dann an den Kriterien, die Sie ausgewählt haben (z. B. nach dem Land oder dem Sachgebiet).

    Haben Sie in einer Kategorie kein Kriterium ausgewählt, wird die gesamte Kategorie durchsucht (z.B. alle Sachgebiete oder alle Länder).