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Nocturnal pollinators go dark under street lamps

When the sun goes down, moths, beetles and other nocturnal insects that spread pollen between plants go to work. But the latest research reveals that these creatures might be at risk from artificial lighting.

Scientists working in Switzerland report large drop-offs in pollinator visits as well as reduced fruit production in patches of cabbage thistle (Cirsium oleraceum) under artificial lighting at night, in a study published on 2 August in Nature1. Researchers were largely in the dark about how problems such as light pollution affected pollinators. But the study authors say their work highlights how the human footprint can reverberate throughout an ecosystem — even after people have gone to bed.


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