New research has been published in Preserve insects and diversity It indicates that artificial light at night would likely interfere with the courtship and mating of bioluminescent fireflies.
For the study, researchers exposed courtship pairs of fireflies to five colors of light at two intensities, and recorded changes in the rate, brightness, and pattern of male ad flickers, as well as the number of times the female responded.
All the artificial light treatments drastically suppressed courtship activity, but the bright amber light had the biggest effect on female receptivity. This is that the artificial lights closest in color to the firefly’s bioluminescence may be the most disturbing of the firefly courtship.
“It’s definitely worrying, because many eco-minded people pay to use amber lights to safely light streets and gardens.” Co-author Avalon CS Owens, a Tufts PhD student, said, “But we found that there is no safe color of light for fireflies – They need darkness. ”
The article is part of the magazine’s special issue: The effect of artificial lighting at night to protect insects.