Method to improve the survival of night-swarming mayflies near bridges in areas of distracting light pollution

Ádám Egri, Dénes Száz, Alexandra Farkas, Pereszlényi, Gábor Horváth, György Kriska

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous negative ecological effects of urban lighting have been identified during the last decades. In spite of the development of lighting technologies, the detrimental effect of this form of light pollution has not declined. Several insect species are affected including the night-swarming mayfly Ephoron virgo: when encountering bridges during their mass swarming, these mayflies often fall victim to artificial lighting. We show a simple method for the conservation of these mayflies exploiting their positive phototaxis. With downstream-facing light-emitting diode beacon lights above two tributaries of the river Danube, we managed to guide egglaying females to the water and prevent them from perishing outside the river near urban lights. By means of measuring the mayfly outflow from the river as a function of time and the on/off state of the beacons, we showed that the number of mayflies exiting the river’s area was practically zero when our beacons were operating. Tributaries could be the sources of mayfly recolonization in case of water quality degradation of large rivers. The protection of mayfly populations in small rivers and safeguarding their aggregation and oviposition sites is therefore important.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171166
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2017



  • Ecological light traps
  • Ephoron virgo
  • Light pollution
  • Nature conservation
  • Phototaxis
  • Visual ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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