Light pollution: obtrusive light for fireflies

Artificial light makes us night and day, which disturbs not only enjoyed astronomically interested time. Also for animals that are, by nature, at night, brightn

Light pollution: obtrusive light for fireflies

Artificial light makes us night and day, which disturbs not only enjoyed astronomically interested time. Also for animals that are, by nature, at night, brightness is untimely irritating. With deadly consequences-such as when moths are irresistibly attracted by lamps and candles. No wonder, then, that the night lighting will also get insects, the lights themselves, bad: Artificial light prevents, for example, female fireflies to more efficient communication with the other gender. The have recently observed, scientists working with Christina Elgert from the University in Helsinki and Juhani Hopkins of the University of Oulu.

The object of research for the scientists was the Big Firefly (Lampyris noctiluca), also as a Big Firefly known. This, from Europe to China-wide beetle is the only representative of the Firefly family, whose area of distribution extends up to Finland. In search of a partner, the males flying in warm summer nights busy. The females, however, are not very mobile, because they do not develop wings, but still remain in the adult age, worm-shaped like a larva.

At nightfall, the female fireflies curving their abdomen so far that their light organs are visible. The green-yellow light to know about the qualities of the potential partner: Larger females can produce more offspring, are brighter, and are thus, for the males more attractive. A Firefly with its glowing contact display has attracted a Partner, it clears the light. If it has with its advertising no success, it withdraws into his lair, to try the next night, once again, his luck.

Will adapt to the fireflies?

Some of the fireflies had caught Elgert and her colleagues, in June of this year, and in the laboratory quartered. There, the insects of goods suitable to the Season in southern Finland – a cycle of 20 hours day and 4 hours night exposed. The females were irradiated in this artificial night with a white light, they began to light up later than usual – if you are not decided entirely on light signals and prematurely pulled back, write the researchers in the "Proceedings of the Royal Society B".

females respond to male conspecifics brightly illuminated, explored the Finnish biologists in the wild: they placed two dummies of female fireflies. Each one in the spot light of an LED lamp, a other so far that it was hardly brighter than usual in a Finnish night in June. So left in the dark, lured by the glowing fake almost twenty times as often in males as in the Light of the LED lamp.

Illuminated fireflies would do so well to find a shadier seat, where your Shine comes out better. The green light that mimics a luminous Companion, the insects entirely, by going at a distance. In bright daylight, it is usually just patiently wait until the dusk is far enough advanced. To avoid flash of white light, apparently belongs not to the behavioural repertoire of the Great Firefly. In settlements and along country roads, this could mean long-term for these species. Because the female does not remain too much time to wait for a Partner. As adult insects, fireflies take no more food to itself. They live solely from the energy reserves that you have saved, while they did as a larva in snails amicably.

If fireflies can in the long term, artificial light adjust, is an open question. Since it takes two to three years, up from stored eggs, a new Firefly Generation is grown up, it will be Evolution rather slowly. Therefore, the researchers working with Christina Elgert and Juhani Hopkins come to the conclusion that the widespread presence of artificial light sources contribute more to the fireflies also from a global perspective is increasingly ignoring us. Other factors are likely to play a role as well: The destruction of habitats, use of insecticides and the impact of climate change is a large part of the insect to create. Also those that are neither at night nor bright on the road.

Updated Date: 04 August 2020, 09:19

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