Solar panels might be a cornerstone of green energy, but new research shows that they may have a dark side: the panels are a mesmerizing, lethal attraction to certain aquatic insects, drawing them to the panels’ surface and trapping them there until they die.
“It’s like these organisms become dazzled to death,” said Bruce Robertson of Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners who led the study. “It’s like going to the most amazing 3D movie you’ve ever seen and you can’t leave. They just fly and fly and fly over these surfaces, and they get exhausted and die.”
The potential insect losses are important, Robertson said, because the insects provide food for fish and other aquatic species. “Aquatic insects are a fundamentally important base of the aquatic food web,” he said.
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