Quantifying the polarised light pollution of an asphalt road: an ecological trap for the stonefly, Perla abdominalis (Guérin-Méneville, 1838) (Plecoptera: Perlidae)

Ádám Egri, Dénes Száz, Ádám Pereszlényi, B. Bernáth, G. Kriska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A unique form of optical ecological traps is polarised light pollution. Typical sources of this phenomenon is asphalt roads that attract a variety of polarotactic aquatic adult insects seeking horizontally polarised sources recognized as water surfaces. Several harmful effects of polarised light pollution have been previously demonstrated but no quantitative data are available in regard to the loss of a given adult population under these conditions. Our objective was to study the impact of an asphalt road parallel to a creek on the stonefly Perla abdominalis (Guérin-Méneville, 1838). Throughout a three-year study, by comparing the number of exuviae along a stream and the number of adult individuals attracted by the road, we established that 19.6% of the females were trapped by the nearby road. By measuring the reflection–polarisation characteristics of the stream and asphalt surface, we demonstrated that the road may act as attractive, supernormal stimulus for adult females.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Insects
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • ecological trap
  • Hungary
  • Perla abdominalis
  • Plecoptera
  • polarised light pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Insect Science

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