Data from: The interface of ecological novelty and behavioral context in the formation of ecological traps
Cite this dataset
Robertson, Bruce A. et al. (2017). Data from: The interface of ecological novelty and behavioral context in the formation of ecological traps [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2s5t6
Ecological traps occur when rapid environmental change causes animals to actually prefer inferior habitats. Traps increase the likelihood of species extinction, but our understanding of how evolved behavioral algorithms interface with increasingly novel ecosystems to trigger them remains limited. Both polarized and unpolarized light are increasingly common forms of light pollution known to cause maladaptive behavior for both water-seeking and entirely terrestrial insects by maladaptively triggering innate habitat selection and navigation preferences, respectively. We designed a nocturnal, field-based experiment to investigate how diverse nocturnal insect taxa use and contextualize these cues when they are placed in evolutionarily novel proximity, and so test the hypothesis that cues that originally evolved to guide navigation behavior can enhance or hinder the ability of different nocturnal insects to avoid maladaptive behavior within the context of habitat selection. Unpolarized light created more attractive ecological traps, even for aquatic taxa known to use polarized light as their sole habitat selection cue. We found that these cues could, in aquatic taxa, act both additively and synergistically to increase the attraction of ecological traps. While one family showed evidence of partitioning their response to these 2 forms of light within their respective behavioral contexts (navigation, habitat selection), our results indicate that the novel proximity of cues from separate behavioral contexts can act to enhance the attractiveness of ecological traps within a focal context.