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Porchlight causes moths to evolve

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From Science:

Moths from high light pollution areas were significantly less attracted to the light than those from the darker zones, the scientists report in today’s issue of Biology Letters. Overall, moths from the light-polluted populations had a 30% reduction in the flight-to-light behavior, indicating that this species is evolving, as predicted, to stay away from artificial lights. That change should increase these city moths’ reproductive success. But their success comes at a cost: To avoid the lights, the moths are likely flying less, say the scientists, so they aren’t pollinating as many flowers or feeding as many spiders and bats. More. Paper (paywall)

Of course, they may not need to fly as far. The food sources won’t usually be the most brightly lit places.

This sort of thing used to be called adaptation rather than evolution. It would be interesting to take the offspring of the same moths and try reversing the experiment. One might learn more about the mechanisms that provide the moths with guidance.

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One Reply to “Porchlight causes moths to evolve

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Sort of like people who are attracted to UD by the light and then get banned because they fail at basic logic. Evolution in action.

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