As the planet becomes increasingly urbanized, it is imperative that we understand the ecological and evolutionary consequences of urbanization on species. One common attribute of urbanization that differs from rural areas is the prevalence of artificial light at night (ALAN). For many species, light is one of the most important and reliable environmental cues, largely governing the timing of daily and seasonal activity patterns. Recently, it has been shown that ALAN can alter behavioral, phenological, and physiological traits in diverse taxa. For temperate insects, diapause is an essential trait for winter survival and commences in response to declining daylight hours in the fall. Diapause is under strong selection pressure in the mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Skuse); local adaptation and rapid evolution has been observed along a latitudinal cline. It is unknown how ALAN affects this photosensitive trait or if local adaptation has occurred along an urbanization gradient. Using a common garden experiment, we experimentally demonstrated that simulated ALAN reduces diapause incidence in this species by as much as 40%. There was no difference, however, between urban and rural demes. We also calculated diapause incidence from wild demes in urban areas to determine whether wild populations exhibited lower than predicted incidence compared to estimates from total nocturnal darkness. In early fall, lower than predicted diapause incidence was recorded, but all demes reached nearly 100% diapause before terminating egg laying. It is possible that nocturnal resting behavior in vegetation limits the amount of ALAN exposure this species experiences potentially limiting local adaptation.
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Vol. 57 • No. 6