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Learning to feed in the dark: how light levels influences feeding in the hawkmoth Manduca sexta

Citation

Deora, Tanvi; Ahmed, Mahad; Brunton, Bing; Daniel, Tom (2022), Learning to feed in the dark: how light levels influences feeding in the hawkmoth Manduca sexta, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vq83bk3t2

Abstract

Nocturnal insects like moths are essential for pollination, providing resilience to the diurnal pollination networks. Moths use both vision and mechanosensation to locate the nectary opening in the flowers with their proboscis. However, increased light levels due to artificial light at night (ALAN) pose a serious threat to nocturnal insects. Here we examined how light levels influence the efficacy by which the crepuscular hawkmoth Manduca sexta locates the nectary. We used 3D printed artificial flowers fitted with motion sensors in the nectary and machine vision to track the motion of hovering moths under two light levels: 0.1 lux (moonlight) and 50 lux (dawn/dusk). We found that moths in higher light conditions took significantly longer to find the nectary, even with repeated visits to the same flower. In addition to taking longer, moths in higher light conditions hovered further from the flower during feeding. Increased light levels adversely affect learning and motor control in these animals.

Methods

Refer to the readMe file.

Usage Notes

The data set consists of multiple split zip files. All split zip files must be downloaded to unzip the data. The files  can be unzipped with a program such as 7-zip Utility or the Unarchiver. These programs will produce a single folder that bears the name of the first zip folder in the series, ie Data or Data_7z.0001; this folder will contain the contents of all the zip folders. 

Funding