Anthropogenic polarization and polarized light pollution inducing polarized ecological traps

Gábor Horváth, G. Kriska, Bruce Robertson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the last decade it has been recognized that the artificial polarization of light can have uniquely disruptive effects on animals capable of seeing it and has led to the identification of polarized light pollution (PLP) as a new kind of ecological photopollution. In this chapter we review some typical examples for PLP and the resulting polarized ecological traps. All such polarized-light-polluting artificial surfaces are characterized by strongly and horizontally polarized reflected light attracting positively polarotactic aquatic insects, the larvae of which develop in water or mud, such as aquatic beetles (Coleoptera), water bugs (Heteroptera), dragonflies (Odonata), mayflies (Ephemeroptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera) and tabanid flies (Tabanidae), for example. We survey here the PLP of asphalt surfaces, solar panels, agricultural black plastic sheets, glass surfaces, black gravestones and the paintwork of black-, red- and dark-coloured cars. We show how the maladaptive attractiveness (PLP) of certain artificial surfaces to polarotactic insects can be reduced or eliminated. We consider how birds, spiders and bats exploit polarotactic insects trapped by different sources of PLP. We deal with the phenomenon that the vertically polarized mirror image of bridges seen at the river surface can deceive swarming polarotactic mayflies, which is an atypical kind of PLP. We explain why strongly polarizing black burnt-up stubble fields do not attract aquatic insects, which is an example for a horizontal, black polarizing surface that does not induce PLP and thus is an exception proving the rule. Finally, we show that phototaxis and polarotaxis together have a more harmful effect on the dispersal flight of night-active aquatic insects than they would have separately. This provides experimental evidence for the synergistic interaction of phototaxis and polarotaxis in these insects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolarized Light and Polarization Vision in Animal Sciences, Second Edition
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Pages443-513
Number of pages71
ISBN (Electronic)9783642547188
ISBN (Print)9783642547171
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Horváth, G., Kriska, G., & Robertson, B. (2014). Anthropogenic polarization and polarized light pollution inducing polarized ecological traps. In Polarized Light and Polarization Vision in Animal Sciences, Second Edition (pp. 443-513). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-54718-8_20