The color of artificial light affects mate attraction in the common glow-worm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Artificial light at night, often referred to as 'light pollution', isa global environmental problem that threatens many nocturnal organisms. One such species is the European common glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca), in which reproduc-tion relies on the ability of sedentary bioluminescent females to attract flying males to mate. Previous studies show that broad-spectrum white artificial light interferes with mate attraction in this beetle. However, much less is known about wavelength-specific effects. In this study, we experimentally investigate how the peak wavelength (color) of artificial light affects glow-worm mate attraction success in the field by using dummy females that trap males landing to mate. Each dummy was illuminated from above by either a blue (peak wavelength: 452 nm), white (449 nm), yellow (575 nm), or red (625 nm) LED lighting, or light switched off in the control. We estimated mate attraction success as both the probability of attracting at least one male and the number of males attracted. In both cases, mate attraction success depended on the peak wavelength of the artificial light, with short wavelengths (blue and white) decreasing it more than long wavelengths (yellow and red). Hence, adjusting the spectrum of artifi-cial light can be an effective measure for mitigating the negative effects of light pollution on glow-worm reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number159451
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

Cite this