Artificial night lights are changing insect habits



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Artificial night lights are changing insect habits

Light pollution is the deleterious effect of urban and suburban artificial lights, mainly caused by poor lighting design and therefore by reckless energy abuse. Light pollution leads directly to further environmental chemical pollution due to excess energy production, also partially increasing unnecessary global warming.

Light pollution is basically the alteration of unnecessary natural ambient lighting at night. Among the environmental damages we can list: difficulty or loss of orientation in different animal species - migratory birds, sea turtles, nocturnal moths, bats - alteration of the photoperiod in some plants, alteration of circadian rhythms in plants, in animals in microorganisms, stunted growth of the perifiton.

For example, the production of melatonin is already blocked at very low light levels and this causes the alteration of sleep. In 2001, a new retinal photoreceptor was discovered in the eye that does not contribute to the mechanism of vision, but regulates our biological clock.

Among the sciences most damaged by the disappearance of the starry sky there is undoubtedly both amateur and professional astronomy; a sky that is too bright in fact severely limits the efficiency of optical telescopes which must increasingly be positioned far from this form of pollution.

The economic damage is mainly due to the waste of electricity used to unnecessarily illuminate areas that should not be illuminated, such as the celestial vault, the facades of private buildings, meadows and fields on the side of roads or in the center of roundabouts or which should be illuminated.

more efficiently, avoiding unnecessary waste. Artificial light at night disrupts species interactions and changes insect communities, is a study published on the Current opinion in insect science, which explains: "Artificial light at night (ALAN) is globally increasing, posing a threat to biodiversity.

The impact of nocturnal illumination on individual insects has been relatively well documented. Recent studies show that ALAN also impacts species interactions, including intra-specific communication, trophic interactions and plant-pollinator interactions, with cascading effects in the ecosystem and impacts on ecosystem functioning that extend beyond nocturnal communities and illuminated areas.

Reduced population sizes and changes in community composition because of exposure to ALAN have been reported but the understanding of the impacts of ALAN on insect communities is currently limited to few groups and ecosystems.

T he theoretical framework on how ALAN impacts insect communities and populations is poorly developed, limiting ou r understanding and the formulation of relevant hypotheses."