Light pollution on ecosystems is a growing concern, and knowledge about the effects of outdoor lighting on organisms is crucial to understand and mitigate impacts. Here we build up on a previous study to characterize the diversity of all beetles attracted to different commonly used streetlight set ups. We find that lights attract beetles from a broad taxonomic and ecological spectrum. Lights that attract a large number of insect individuals draw an equally high number of insect species. While there is some evidence for heterogeneity in the preference of beetle species to different kinds of light, all species are more attracted to some light radiating ultraviolet. The functional basis of this heterogeneity, however, is not clear. Our results highlight that control of ultraviolet radiation in public lighting is important to reduce the number and diversity of insects attracted to lights.
Light pollution due to exterior lighting is a rising concern. While glare, light trespass and general light pollution have been well described, there are few reported studies on the impact of light pollution on insects. By studying insect behavior in relation to artificial lighting, we suggest that control of the UV component of artificial lighting can significantly reduce its attractiveness, offering a strong ability to control the impact on insects. Traditionally, the attractiveness of a lamp to insects is calculated using the luminous efficiency spectrum of insect rhodopsin. This has enabled the development of lamps that emit radiation with wavelengths that are less visible to insects (that is, yellow lamps). We tested the assumption that the degree of visibility of a lamp to insects can predict its attractiveness by means of experimental collections. We found that the expected lamp's visibility is indeed related to the extent to which it attracts insects. However, the number of insects attracted to a lamp is disproportionally affected by the emission of ultraviolet radiation. UV triggers the behavior of approaching lights more or less independently of the amount of UV radiation emitted. Thus, even small amounts of UV should be controlled in order to develop bug-free lamps.