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LED lights make moths easy targets for bats

bat hunting a moth

NIGHT HUNT  New research finds that bright LED lighting leaves moths open to attacks from hunting bats.

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Energy-saving LED street lights are environmentally friendly, but they may not be moth-friendly. When lit by an LED's glow, the insects are less likely to perform dramatic dives to escape hungry bats, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Bristol in England played recordings of bat hunting calls to unsuspecting wild moths. In the dark, 60 percent of moths dove toward the ground to avoid the imaginary predator. But when LEDs lit up the night, only 24 percent of moths attempted this last-ditch evasive maneuver, the team reports August 5 in Royal Society Open Science.

Some moths employ different predator defense strategies during the day than at night, the researchers say. Bright LED lighting may leave moths unprepared for ambushes from nocturnal hunters.

Health

Spicy food associated with longevity

By Nathan Seppa 6:30pm, August 4, 2015
Spicy food in the diet seems to contribute to longevity, a study of thousands of people in a Chinese registry finds.
Genetics,, Physiology,, Evolution

How Ethiopian highlanders adapted to breathe thin air

By Helen Thompson 1:26pm, August 4, 2015
Lower levels of a heart protein may help Ethiopian highlanders breathe thin air, researchers report.
Health

Kidney transplants may benefit from a slightly chilled donor

By Sarah Schwartz 11:35am, July 31, 2015
Transplanted kidneys performed better when taken from organ donors whose bodies were intentionally cooled after death.
Immune Science

Experimental MERS vaccine battles virus in mice and monkeys

By Sarah Schwartz 6:30am, July 30, 2015
Select viral proteins and DNA can combat the MERS virus in mice and monkeys.
Animals,, Physiology

Stink bug moms are color conscious when it comes to their eggs

By Sarah Schwartz 5:36pm, July 24, 2015
P. maculiventris moms control the color of their eggs, seemingly pairing darker eggs with darker surfaces.
Materials

Stretchy fiber keeps electrons flowing

By Andrew Grant 5:04pm, July 23, 2015
Folded layers of carbon nanotubes allow an elastic fiber to conduct electrical current when stretched.
Animals

Boas kill by cutting off blood flow, not airflow

By Ashley Yeager 6:00pm, July 22, 2015
Boas actually kill by constricting blood flow of their prey, not suffocating them, as scientists previously suspected.
Oceans,, Climate

Blooming phytoplankton seed clouds in the Southern Ocean

By Beth Mole 2:00pm, July 17, 2015
Booming phytoplankton populations spark cloud formation in the Southern Ocean.
Health,, Microbes,, Microbiology

Mosquitoes can get a double dose of malaria

By Tina Hesman Saey 11:44am, July 17, 2015
Carrying malaria may make mosquitoes more susceptible to infection with a second strain of the parasite that causes the disease.
Neuroscience,, Human Development

Bundles of cells hint at biological differences of autistic brains

By Sarah Schwartz 9:20am, July 17, 2015
Using miniature organoids that mimic the human brain, scientists have identified developmental differences between autistic children and their non-autistic family members.
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