Colors of attraction: Modeling insect flight to light behavior

Maurice Donners*, R.H.A. van Grunsven, D. Groenendijk, F. van Langevelde, J. Bikker, Travis Longcore, E.M. Veenendaal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Light sources attract nocturnal flying insects, but some lamps attract more insects than others. The relation between the properties of a light source and the number of attracted insects is, however, poorly understood. We developed a model to quantify the attractiveness of light sources based on the spectral output. This model is fitted using data from field experiments that compare a large number of different light sources. We validated this model using two additional datasets, one for all insects and one excluding the numerous Diptera. Our model facilitates the development and application of light sources that attract fewer insects without the need for extensive field tests and it can be used to correct for spectral composition when formulating hypotheses on the ecological impact of artificial light. In addition, we present a tool allowing the conversion of the spectral output of light sources to their relative insect attraction based on this model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-440
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology
Issue number8-9
Early online date26 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • artificial light at night
  • Diptera
  • Lepidoptera
  • light pollution
  • phototaxis
  • spectral sensitivity


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