Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 225–231 | Cite as

Spectral composition of light sources and insect phototaxis, with an evaluation of existing spectral response models

  • Roy H. A. van GrunsvenEmail author
  • M. Donners
  • K. Boekee
  • I. Tichelaar
  • K. G. van Geffen
  • D. Groenendijk
  • F. Berendse
  • E. M. Veenendaal


Artificial illumination attracts insects, but to what extent light attracts insects, depends on the spectral composition of the light. Response models have been developed to predict the attractiveness of artificial light sources. In this study we compared attraction of insects by existing light sources used for streetlights as well as newly developed environment friendly alternatives, and used this data to test the predictive ability of the existing response models. Light sources differed in overall attractiveness to insects and relative attractiveness was dependent on insect order. The attraction patterns predicted by the two models correlated weakly with the number of insects attracted when the only light source rich in UV, a mercury vapour light, was included in the tested spectra. When the mercury vapour light, which is going to be banned in Europe, was not included in the test no correlation was found between predicted and observed attraction patterns. We conclude that currently existing attraction response models are insufficiently sensitive to evaluate new light sources.


Artificial light pollution Attraction Lepidoptera Mercury vapour Night Trapping 



We thank G. Biewenga and J. Zonderland of Nij Bosma Zathe for their assistance. Dr. R. Kats and Drs. E. Drent are acknowledged for their helpful support. This project is funded by NWO-STW Grant 11110, Philips Lighting and the Dutch Oil Company (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 72 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 134 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 1564 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy H. A. van Grunsven
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. Donners
    • 3
  • K. Boekee
    • 4
  • I. Tichelaar
    • 4
  • K. G. van Geffen
    • 1
  • D. Groenendijk
    • 5
  • F. Berendse
    • 1
  • E. M. Veenendaal
    • 1
  1. 1.Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Animal EcologyNetherlands Institute of EcologyWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Philips ResearchEindhovenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Van Hall LarensteinLeeuwardenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Dutch Butterfly ConservationWageningenThe Netherlands

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