We investigated the lethal effects of visible light on insects by using light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The toxic effects of ultraviolet (UV) light, particularly shortwave (i.e., UVB and UVC) light, on organisms are well known. However, the effects of irradiation with visible light remain unclear, although shorter wavelengths are known to be more lethal. Irradiation with visible light is not thought to cause mortality in complex animals including insects. Here, however, we found that irradiation with short-wavelength visible (blue) light killed eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults of Drosophila melanogaster. Blue light was also lethal to mosquitoes and flour beetles, but the effective wavelength at which mortality occurred differed among the insect species. Our findings suggest that highly toxic wavelengths of visible light are species-specific in insects, and that shorter wavelengths are not always more toxic. For some animals, such as insects, blue light is more harmful than UV light.
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