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Data from: Dim light pollution prevents diapause induction in urban and rural moths

Cite this dataset

Merckx, Thomas; Kivelä, Sami (2023). Data from: Dim light pollution prevents diapause induction in urban and rural moths [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Light pollution is increasingly affecting biodiversity and may also disrupt seasonal adaptations. Even dim artificial light, such as skyglowwhich can spread far beyond urban areascan interfere with using photoperiod as a seasonal cue.

2. Here, we test how light pollution impacts diapause induction and whether urban evolution counteracts it, by using common-garden experiments with a common, widespread geometrid moth (Chiasmia clathrata). We raised offspring from urban and rural populations from North- and Mid-European countries in treatments with and without dim light at night.

3. The dim light treatment strongly increased direct development overallwith no evidence for urban adaptation to itbut distinctly more so in Mid- than in North-European populations.

4. Because diapause induction is critical for surviving winter, these results indicate that dim but widespread light pollution may have detrimental effects on insect populations, especially so at mid-latitudes, and may hence explain part of the ongoing, large-scale insect declines globally.

5. Synthesis and applications: Latitudinal variation in sensitivity to light pollution means that its contribution to insect declinesand its conservation importanceshould likewise vary among regions. In mid-latitude regions, where populations seem more sensitive to light pollution, mitigating light pollution should be a high priority for insect conservation Reducing skyglow from cities should benefit both urban populations—which were just as susceptible as rural populations in our study—and rural populations—because skyglow extends far beyond the geographic boundaries of cities.


Academy of Finland, Award: 314833

Academy of Finland, Award: 319898

Academy of Finland, Award: 345363