Artificial light at night may decrease predation risk for terrestrial insects

Greg Eckhartt*, Graeme Douglas Ruxton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artificial light at night (ALAN) is thought to be detrimental for terrestrial insect populations. While there exists evidence for lower abundance under ALAN, underlying mechanisms remain unclear. One mechanism by which ALAN may contribute to insect declines may be through facilitating increased predation. We investigated this by experimentally manipulating insect-substitute abundance under differential levels of light. We used insect-containing birdfeed placed at varying distances from streetlights as a proxy for terrestrial insects, inspecting the rate of predation before and after dusk (when streetlights are, respectively, off and on). We found that there was a significantly greater effect of increasing distance on predation after dusk, suggesting that predation was actually reduced by greater levels of artificial light. This may occur because ALAN also increases the vulnerability of insectivores to their own predators. Implications for foraging behaviour and alternative explanations are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20220281
Number of pages5
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number11
Early online date9 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2022


  • Artifical light at night
  • Light pollution
  • Insect predation
  • Insect decline
  • Terrestrial insects


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