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Why do red cars lure aquatic insects? The attraction of water insects to car paintwork explained by reflection-polarisation signals.

Kriska, György and Csabai, Zoltán Szabolcs and Boda, Pál and Malik, Péter and Horváth, Gábor (2006) Why do red cars lure aquatic insects? The attraction of water insects to car paintwork explained by reflection-polarisation signals. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY LONDON B BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 273. pp. 1667-1671. ISSN 0962-8452

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Abstract

We reveal here the visual ecological reasons for the phenomenon that aquatic insects often land on red, black and dark-coloured cars. Monitoring the numbers of aquatic beetles and bugs attracted to shiny black, white, red and yellow horizontal plastic sheets, we found that red and black reflectors are equally highly attractive to water insects, while yellow and white reflectors are unattractive. The reflection–polarization patterns of black, white, red and yellow cars were measured in the red, green and blue parts of the spectrum. In the blue and green, the degree of linear polarization p of light reflected from red and black cars is high and the direction of polarization of light reflected from red and black car roofs, bonnets and boots is nearly horizontal. Thus, the horizontal surfaces of red and black cars are highly attractive to redblind polarotactic water insects. The p of light reflected from the horizontal surfaces of yellow and white cars is low and its direction of polarization is usually not horizontal. Consequently, yellow and white cars are unattractive to polarotactic water insects. The visual deception of aquatic insects by cars can be explained solely by the reflection–polarizational characteristics of the car paintwork.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / földrajz, antropológia, kikapcsolódás > GE Environmental Sciences / környezettudomány
Q Science / természettudomány > QC Physics / fizika > QC02 Optics / fénytan
Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH540 Ecology / ökológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QL Zoology / állattan
SWORD Depositor: MTMT SWORD
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2014 08:02
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2014 08:04
URI: http://real.mtak.hu/id/eprint/13748

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