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Data from: The rising moon promotes mate finding in moths

Cite this dataset

Degen, Jacqueline (2022). Data from: The rising moon promotes mate finding in moths [Dataset]. Dryad.


To counteract insect decline, it is essential to understand the underlying causes, especially for key pollinators such as nocturnal moths whose ability to orientate can easily be influenced by ambient light conditions. These comprise natural light sources as well as artificial light, but their specific relevance for moth orientation is still unknown. We investigated the influence of moonlight on the reproductive behavior of privet hawkmoths (Sphinx ligustri) at a relatively dark site where the Milky Way was visible while the horizon was illuminated by distant light sources and skyglow. We show that male moths use the moon for orientation and reach females significantly faster with increasing moon elevation. Furthermore, the choice of flight direction depended on the cardinal position of the moon but not on the illumination of the horizon caused by artificial light, indicating that the moon plays a key role in the orientation of male moths.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft