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Insects 2018, 9(1), 22; doi:10.3390/insects9010022

Enlightening Butterfly Conservation Efforts: The Importance of Natural Lighting for Butterfly Behavioral Ecology and Conservation

Department of Biology and Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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Light is arguably the most important abiotic factor for living organisms. Organisms evolved under specific lighting conditions and their behavior, physiology, and ecology are inexorably linked to light. Understanding light effects on biology could not be more important as present anthropogenic effects are greatly changing the light environments in which animals exist. The two biggest anthropogenic contributors changing light environments are: (1) anthropogenic lighting at night (i.e., light pollution); and (2) deforestation and the built environment. I highlight light importance for butterfly behavior, physiology, and ecology and stress the importance of including light as a conservation factor for conserving butterfly biodiversity. This review focuses on four parts: (1) Introducing the nature and extent of light. (2) Visual and non-visual light reception in butterflies. (3) Implications of unnatural lighting for butterflies across several different behavioral and ecological contexts. (4). Future directions for quantifying the threat of unnatural lighting on butterflies and simple approaches to mitigate unnatural light impacts on butterflies. I urge future research to include light as a factor and end with the hopeful thought that controlling many unnatural light conditions is simply done by flipping a switch. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropogenic factors; light pollution; polarized light; sensory pollution anthropogenic factors; light pollution; polarized light; sensory pollution

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Seymoure, B.M. Enlightening Butterfly Conservation Efforts: The Importance of Natural Lighting for Butterfly Behavioral Ecology and Conservation. Insects 2018, 9, 22.

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