When night becomes day: Artificial light at night alters insect behavior under semi-natural conditions

Keren Levy, Yoav Wegrzyn, Stan Moaraf, Anat Barnea, Amir Ayali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Light is the most important Zeitgeber for temporal synchronization in nature. Artificial light at night (ALAN) disrupts the natural light-dark rhythmicity and thus negatively affects animal behavior. However, to date, ALAN research has been mostly conducted under laboratory conditions in this context. Here, we used the field cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, to investigate the effect of ALAN on insect behavior under semi-natural conditions, i.e., under shaded natural lighting conditions, natural temperature and soundscape. Male crickets were placed individually in outdoor enclosures and exposed to ALAN conditions ranging from <0.01 to 1500 lx intensity. The crickets' stridulation behavior was recorded for 14 consecutive days and nights and their daily activity patterns were analysed. ALAN impaired the crickets' stridulation rhythm, evoking a change in the crickets' naturally synchronized daily activity period. This was manifested by a light-intensity-dependent increase in the proportion of insects demonstrating an intrinsic circadian rhythm (free-run behavior). This also resulted in a change in the population's median activity cycle period. These ALAN-induced effects occurred despite the crickets' exposure to almost natural conditions. Our findings provide further validity to our previous studies on ALAN conducted under lab conditions and establish the deleterious impacts of ALAN on animal behavioral patterns. Teaser: Artificial light at night alters cricket behavior and desynchronizes their stridulation even under near-natural conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171905
Pages (from-to)171905
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 20 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright © 2024 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • ALAN (Artificial Light at Night)
  • Bioacoustics
  • Ecology
  • Environment
  • Gryllus bimaculatus
  • Light pollution
  • Lighting/adverse effects
  • Light Pollution
  • Male
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Animals
  • Light


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