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Turn out the lights to save our moths

Letters
·1-min read
<span>Photograph: PIER/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: PIER/Getty Images

Your article on the decline in Britain’s moths (Britain’s moths decline by a third in 50 years, study finds, 3 March) mentions light pollution as “possibly” an important factor. This risks underplaying the impact of artificial light on every stage of a moth’s life and every aspect of its world. Light is time in the natural world and the vital synchronising of migration, pollination, predation and reproduction all depend on the pattern of light and dark.

While the report mentioned in your article says that as yet there is limited evidence of direct causation between artificial light at night and population changes in moths, it also says that there are direct effects throughout their life cycle. Light pollution disrupts moths’ hormones, breeding, navigation and feeding. It also increases risk of predation by bats, and affects the availability of their plant food sources.

Of all the potential causes of moth decline, from intensive agriculture to climate change, light pollution is the simplest to address: switch the lights off! Keeping artificial light at night to a minimum can only help moths, the unsung heroes of biodiversity, and the rest of the living world that their lives are inextricably intertwined with - including us humans.
Anna Levin
Cambridge