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Light Pollution Greatly Alters Insect World June 1, 2012
Street lights on urban night setting
Insects are gathering in larger numbers beneath streetlights around the world's neighborhoods.
Humankind’s illumination of the world with street lights is having a profound influence on the insect population of their neighborhoods, according to a new study.

Researchers from England’s University of Exeter found that how close those insects are to street lights helped some to thrive while it made life for others far more difficult.

By trapping insects around the market town of Helston, and noting their proximity to artificial light, the team found that in general, insects were more abundant under street lights.

This was especially true among predatory and scavenging species, such as ground beetles and spiders known as “harvestmen” or “daddy longlegs.”

The researchers say the effect could cascade up the food chain to the birds and mammals that feed on insects.

“Our study shows that light pollution could be having a dramatic effect on wildlife in our towns and cities,” wrote lead author Tom Davies in the journal Biology Letters.

It is estimated that artificial light pollution is expanding about 6 percent annually around the world.

Photo: Stock