Light pollution affects body mass and age of the first mating of domestic male birds (study model: Domestic Pigeon)


  • Masoumeh Jafari Shehni



Artificial light at night, darkness-light cycle, body mass


Urbanization around the world is accompanied by a new and growing phenomenon called artificial light at night or light pollution. Because this pollution disrupts the natural light-dark cycle of the earth, it has many behavioral and physiological effects on living organisms and is a potential threat to biodiversity. We tried to find out the effects of this pollution on male birds by disrupting the dark-light cycle of the domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica). The birds were divided into control and lighting groups. In the light group, birds were exposed to artificial light at night from the time of mating until determining the sex of chickens and reaching the age of first mating. In addition to examining the age of the first mating and body mass, some growth-related traits were also measured. Comparing the mean of the studied traits in the two groups using an independent t-test, we found that the increase in body mass in male chickens exposed to artificial light at night until the end of adulthood was always less than in the control group, male chickens in the light group much faster than Male chicks in the dark group reached the age of first mating, but no significant differences were observed in the traits of nesting age, flight age, wing length, tip length, and tarsus length. This study demonstrates the importance of biological cycles in birds and we hope that will be a reason for further studies on light pollution, which is one of the reasons for the disruption of these cycles.


Koen, E.L., Minnaar, C., Roever, C.L & Boyles, J. (2018). Emerging threat of the 21st century lightscape to global biodiversity. Global Change Biology (2018), pp. 2315-2324.

Gaston, K.J., & Bennie, J. (2014). Demographic effects of artificial nighttime lighting on animal populations. Environ. Rev. 22: 323–330.

Becker, A., Whitfield, A.K., Cowley, P.D., Jarnegren, J & Næsje ,T.F. (2013). Potential effects of artificiallight associated with anthropogenic infrastructure on the abundance and foraging behaviour ofestuary-associated fishes. Journal of Applied Ecology 50:43–50.

Lowe, R.H. (1952). The influence of light and other factors on the seaward migration of the silver eel (Anguilla Anguilla L.). Journal of Animal Ecology, 21, 275–309.

Vowles, A.S., & Kemp, P.S. (2021). Artificial light at night (ALAN) affects the downstream movement behaviour of the critically endangered European eel, Anguilla Anguilla. Environmental Pollution, 116585.

Riley, W.D., Bendall, B., Ives, M.J., Edmonds, N.J., & Maxwell, D.L. (2012). Street lighting disrupts the diel migratory pattern of wild Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., smolts leaving their natal stream. Aquaculture 330–333:74–81.

Juell, J.E., & Fosseidengen, J.E. (2004) Use of artificial light to control swimming depth and fish densityof Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in production cages. Aquaculture 233(1–4):269–282.

Bruning, A., Holker, F., Franke, S., Kleiner, W., & Kloas, W. (2015). Impact of different colours of artificial light at night on melatonin rhythm and gene expression of gonadotropins in European perch. Science of the Total Environment,543, 214–222.

Fobert, E.K., Burke, d.a., Silva, K., & Swearer, S.E. (2019) Artificial light at night causes reproductive failure in clownfish. Biology letters, 15: 20190272.

Bruning, A., Holker, F., & Wolter, C. (2010). Artificial light at night: implications for early life stages development in four temperate freshwater fish species. Aquatic Sciences, 73:143–152.

Bolton, D., Mayer-Pinto, M., Clark, G., Dafforn, K., Brassil, W., Becker, A., & Johnston, E.L. (2017). Coastal urban lighting has ecological consequences for multiple trophic levels under the sea. Sci. Total Envriron. 576, 1–9.

Mazur, M.M., & Beauchamp, D.A. (2006). Linking piscivory to spatial–temporal distributions of pelagic prey fishes with a visual foraging model. Journal of Fish Biology, 69(1), 151–175.

Altermatt, F., Baumeyer, A., & Ebert, D. (2009). Experimental evidence for male biased flight‐to‐light behavior in two moth species. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 130: 259–265.

Wakefield, A., Broyles, M., Stone, E.L., Jones, G., & Harris, S. (2016). Experimentally comparing the attractiveness of domestic lights to insects: do LEDs attract fewer insects than conventional light types? Ecology and Evolution 6: 8028–8036.

Eisenbeis, G. (2006). Artificial night lighting and insects: Attraction of insects to streetlamps in a rural setting in Germany. In C. Rich & T. Longcore (Eds.), Ecological consequences of artificial night lighting, pp. 281–304.

McLay, L.K., Green, M.P., & Jones, T.M. (2017). Chronic exposure to dim artificial light at night decreases fecundity and adult survival in Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Insect Physiology 100: 15–20.

Firebaugh, A., & Haynes, K.J. (2016). Experimental tests of light-pollution impacts on nocturnal insect courtship and dispersal. Oecologia 182:1203–11.

Botha, L.M., Jones, T.M., & Hopkins, G.R. (2017). Effects of lifetime exposure to artificial light at night on cricket (Teleogryllus commodus) courtship and mating behavior. Animal Behaviour, 129: 181-188.

van Geffen, K.G., Groot, A.T., van Grunsven, R.H.A., Donners, M., Berendse, F., & Veenendaal, E.M. (2015a). Artificial night lighting disrupts sex pheromone in a noctuid moth. Ecol. Entomol. 40:401–8.

Bird, S., & Parker, J. (2014). Low levels of light pollution may block the ability of male glow-worms (Lampyris noctiluca L.) to locate females. J. Insect Conserv. 18:737–43.

van Geffen, K.G., van Eck, E., de Boer, R.A., van Grunsven, R.H.A., Salis, L., Berendse, F., & Veenendaal, E.M. (2015b). Artificial light at night inhibits mating in a Geometrid moth. Insect Conserv. Divers. 8:282–87.

van Geffen, K.G., van Grunsven, R.H.A., van Ruijven, J., Berendse, F., & Veenendaal, E.M. (2014). Artificial light at night causes diapause inhibition and sex‐specific life history changes in a moth. Ecology and Evolution 4: 2082–2089.

Stone, E.L., Harris, S., & Jones, G. (2015). Impacts of artificial lighting on bats: a review of challenges and solutions. Mammalian Biology 80: 213–219.

Warren, A.D. (1990). predation of five species of noctuidae at ultraviolet light by the Western yellowjacket (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Journal of Lepidopterists’ Society 44: 32.

Duarte, C., Quintanilla-Ahumada, D., Anguita, C., Manriquez, P.H., Widdicombe, S., Pulgar, J., Silva-Rodriguez, E.A., Miranda, C., Manríquez, K., & Quijón, P.A. (2019). Artificial light pollution at night (ALAN) disrupts the distribution and circadian rhythm of a sandy beach isopod. Environ. Pollut. 248, 565–573.

Shi, L., Vasseur, L., Huang, H., Zeng, Z., Hu, G., Liu, X., & You, M. (2017). Adult tea green leafhoppers, Empoasca onukii (Matsuda), change behaviors under varying light conditions.

Van Langevelde, F., van Grunsven, R.H.A., Veenendaal, E.M., & Fijen, T.P.M. (2017). Artificial night lighting inhibits feeding in moths. Biology Letters 13: 20160874.

Dacke, M., Baird, E., Byrne, M., Scholtz, C.H & Warrant, E.J. (2013). Dung beetles use the milky way for orientation. Current Biology 23: 298–300.

Lewis, S.M., Wong, C.H., Owens, A., Fallon, C., Jepsen, S., Thancharoen, A., De Cook, R., Novák, M., López-Palafox, T., Khoo, V., & Reed, J.M. (2020). A global perspective on firefly extinction threats. Bioscience 70, 157–167.

Garber, S.D. (1978). Opportunistic feeding behavior of Anolis cristatellus (Iguanidae: Reptilia) in Puerto Rico. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Sciences 81:79–80.

Maurer, A.S., Thawley, C.J., Firema, A.L., Giery, S.T., & Stroud, J.T. (2019). Nocturnal activity of antiguan lizards under artificial light. Herpetol. Cons. Biol. 14, 105–110.

Bourgeois, s., Gilot-Fromont, E., Viallefont, A., Boussamba, F., & Deem, S.L. (2009). Influence of artificial lights, logs and erosion on leatherback sea turtle hatchling orientation at Pongara National Park, Gabon. Biological conservation 142: 85–93.

Bird, B.L., Branch, L.C., & Miller, D.L. (2004). Effects of coastal lighting on foraging behaviour of beach mice. Conservation Biology, 18: 1435–1439.

Shier, D.M., Bird, A.K., & Vang, T.B. (2020). Effects of artificial light at night on the foraging behavior of an endangered nocturnal mammal. Environmental pollution, 263:114566.

Spoelstra, K., van Grunsven, R.H.A., Donners, M., Gienapp, P., Huigens, M.E., Slaterus, R., Berendse, F., Visser, M.E., & Veenendaal, E. (2015). Experimental illumination of natural habitat—an experimental set-up to assess the direct and indirect ecological consequences of artificial light of different spectral composition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1667), 20140129.

Zhang, F.S., Wang, Y., K, W.u., WY, X.U., J, W.u., JY, L.i.u., XY, Wang., & LY, Shuai. (2020). Effects of artificial light at night on foraging behavior and vigilance in a nocturnal rodent. Science of the Total Environment, 138271.

Stone, E.L., Jones, G., & Harris, S. (2012). Conserving energy at a cost to biodiversity? Impacts of LED lighting on bats. Global Change Biology, 18: 2458–2465.

Hoffmann, J., Palme, R., & Eccard, J.A. (2018). Long-term dim light during nighttime changes activity patterns and space use in experimental small mammal populations. Environmental Pollution, 238: 844-851.

Robert, K.A., Lesku, J.A., Partecke, J., & Chambers, B. (2015). Artificial light at night desynchronizes strictly seasonal reproduction in a wild mammal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1816), 20151745.

Dimovski, A.M., & Robert, K.A. (2018). Artificial light pollution: Shifting spectral wavelengths to mitigate physiological and health consequences in a nocturnal marsupial mammal. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology, 1-9.

Baker, B.J., & Richardson, J.M.L. (2006). The effect of artificial light on male breeding-season behaviourin green frogs, Rana clamitans melanota. Can J Zool 84(10):1528–1532.

May, D., Shidemantle, G., Melnick-Kelley, Q., Crane, K., Hua, J. (2019). The effect of intensified illuminance and artificial light at night on fitness and susceptibility to abiotic and biotic stressors, Environmental Pollution, 12561.

Touzot, M., Lengagne, T., Secondi, J., Desouhant, E., Théry, M., Dumet, A., Duchamp, C., & Mondy, N. (2020). Artificial light at night alters the sexual behaviour and fertilisation success of the common toad. Environmental Pollution, 113883.

Touzot, M., Teulier, L., Lengagne, T., Secondi, J., Théry, M., Libourel, P.A., Guillard, L., & Mondy, N. (2019) Artificial light at night disturbs the activity and energy allocation of the common toad during the breeding period. Conserv Physiol 7(1).

de Jong, M., Jeninga, L., Ouyang, J.Q., van Oers, K., Spoelstra, K., & Visser, M.E. (2016). Dose-dependent responses of avian daily rhythms to artificial light at night. Physiology & Behavior 155: 172-179.

Goldsmith, T.H. (1990). Optimization, constraint, and history in the evolution of eyes. The Quarterly Review of Biology 65:281–322.

Da Silva, A., Valcu, M., & Kempenaers, B. (2016). Behavioural plasticity in the onset of dawn song under intermittent experimental night lighting. Anim. Behav. 117:155–65.

Miller, M.W. (2006). Apparent Effects of Light Pollution on Singing Behavior of American Robins. The Condor 108:130–139.

Schlicht, L., Valcu, M., Loes, P., Girg, A., & Kempenaers, B. (2014). No relationship between female emergence time from the roosting place and extrapair paternity. Behavioral Ecology, 25(3), 650–659.

Santos, C.D., Miranda, A.C., Granadeiro, J.P., Lourenço, P.M., Saraiva, S., & Palmeirim, J.M. (2010). Effects of artificial illumination on the nocturnal foraging of waders. Acta Oecologica 36: 166-172.

Aulsebrook, A.E., Connelly, F., Johnsson, R.D., Jones, T.M., Mulder, R.A., Hall, M.L., Vyssotski, A.L., & Lesku, J.A. (2020). White and Amber Light at Night Disrupt Sleep Physiology in Birds. Current Biology 30, 1–7.

de Jong, M., Ouyang, J.Q., Da Silva, A., van Grunsven, R.H.A., Kempenaers, B., Visser, M.E & Spoelstra, K. (2015). Effects of nocturnal illumination on life-history decisions and fitness in two wild songbird species. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B 370:20140128.

Dominoni, D.M., & Partecke, J. (2015). Does light pollution alter daylength? A test using light loggers on freeranging European blackbirds (Turdus merula). Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B 370:20140118.

de Molenaar, J.G., Jonnkers, D.A., & Sanders, M.E. (2000). Road illumination and nature: III. Local influence of road lights on a black-tailed godwit (Limosa l. limosa) population. DWW Ontsnipperingsreeks 38A, Delft.

Rowan, W. (1925). Relation of light to bird migration and developmental changes. Nature 115:494–495.

Horton, K.G., Nilsson, C., Van Doren, B.M., La Sorte, F.A., Dokter, A.M., & Farnsworth, A. (2019). Bright lights in the big cities: migratory birds’ exposure to artificial light. Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.2029.

Rodr´ıguez, A., Rodr´ıguez, B., & Negro, J.J. (2015). GPS tracking for mapping seabird mortality induced by light pollution. Sci. Rep. 5:10670.

Rebke, M., Dierschke, V., Weiner, C.N., Aumüller, R., Hill, K., & Hill, R. (2019). Attraction of nocturnally migrating birds to artificial light: The influence of colour, intensity and blinking mode under different cloud cover conditions. Biological Conservation, 233: 220-227.

Moaraf, S., Vistoropsky, Y., Pozner, T., Heiblum, R., Okuliarova, M., ´ Zeman, M., & Barnea, A. (2019). Artificial light at night affects brain plasticity and melatonin in birds, Neuroscience Letters.

McLaren, J.D, Buler, J.J., Schreckengost, T., Smolinsky, J.A., Boone, M., Loon, E.E.V., Dawson, D.K., & Walters, E.L. (2018). Artificial light at night confounds broad‐scale habitat use by migrating birds. Ecology Letters.

Bhardwaj, S.K.Anushi. (2006). Effect of photoperiod length on body mass and testicular growth in the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and brahminy myna (Sturnus pagodarum). EDP Sciences, 69-76.

Bhardwaj, S.K., & Kumar, P. (2004). Photosensitivity in body mass and testicular activity of brahminy myna, Sturnus pagodarum. EDP Sciences, 365-369.

Cianchetti-Benedetti, M., Becciu, P., Massa, B., & Dell’Omo, G. (2018). Conflicts between touristic recreational activities and breeding shearwaters: short-term effect of artificial light and sound on chick weight. European Journal of Wildlife Research.

Malek, I., Haim, A. (2019). Bright artificial light-at-night is associated with increased body mass, poor reproductive success, and compromised disease tolerance in Australian budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus).




How to Cite

Jafari Shehni, M. (2022). Light pollution affects body mass and age of the first mating of domestic male birds (study model: Domestic Pigeon). Sustainability and Biodiversity Conservation, 1(1), 1–11.