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Street Lights Change Insect Ecology

More bugs live under them, even during the day: study
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2012 12:10 PM CDT
Street Lights Change Insect Ecology
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If you're not a fan of bugs, you may not want to hang out near street lights: A new study finds that insects are more numerous in the areas under such lights, even during the day, when they're not on. The study suggests that street lights significantly influence the ecology of ground-dwelling invertebrates and insects, more so than previously thought, the BBC reports. This could be a problem for invertebrates, which in the UK "are undergoing a bit of a biodiversity crisis," but more study is needed, says a researcher.

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Much research has been done on the effect of street lights on flying bugs, but not so on insects that remain on the ground. Scientists set traps over a three-night period and found that they trapped more insects near lights than in non-lighted areas—even during daylight times. "This study now seems to be indicating that those transient, nocturnal effects on the behavior of the animals are actually being translated into the habitat preferences of the animals in the daytime as well," says the researcher. (Read more ecology stories.)

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