Lifelong exposure to artificial light at night impacts stridulation and locomotion activity patterns in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus

Keren Levy, Yoav Wegrzyn, Ronny Efronny, Anat Barnea, Amir Ayali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Living organisms experience a worldwide continuous increase in artificial light at night (ALAN), negatively affecting their behaviour. The field cricket, an established model in physiology and behaviour, can provide insights into the effect of ALAN on insect behaviour. The stridulation and locomotion patterns of adult male crickets reared under different lifelong ALAN intensities were monitored simultaneously for five consecutive days in custom-made anechoic chambers. Daily activity periods and acrophases were compared between the experimental groups. Control crickets exhibited a robust rhythm, stridulating at night and demonstrating locomotor activity during the day. By contrast, ALAN affected both the relative level and timing of the crickets' nocturnal and diurnal activity. ALAN induced free-running patterns, manifested in significant changes in the median and variance of the activity periods, and even arrhythmic behaviour. The magnitude of disruption was light intensity dependent, revealing an increase in the difference between the activity periods calculated for stridulation and locomotion in the same individual. This finding may indicate the existence of two peripheral clocks. Our results demonstrate that ecologically relevant ALAN intensities affect crickets' behavioural patterns, and may lead to decoupling of locomotion and stridulation behaviours at the individual level, and to loss of synchronization at the population level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20211626
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1959
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
K.L. is grateful to the Cornell Bioacoustics Research Program for supporting attendance to the 2018 Sierra Nevada Sound Recording and Analysis Workshop. This research was funded by The Open University of Israel Research Fund. Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors.


  • bioacoustics
  • biological clock
  • circadian rhythm
  • insects
  • light pollution


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