Science/Tech

How The Moon Influences The Life Of Animals

It’s common knowledge for us people that the Moon does more than just light up the sky whenever the sun goes down, and that it has an actual relationship with our planet. For one thing, its gravitational pull is responsible for the ebb and flow of the tides, which then influences the life cycles of creatures living in it. It’s also a less known fact that its light also influences some life.

Did you know how big its power is over animals?

Although all it mostly does is give some natural light when dark falls and push our tides to and fro, many animal life cycles are directly influenced by the Moon, and will definitely suffer if by some insane reason, it disappears from the night sky. For example, grunions, which are sardine look-alike fishes, time their mating ritual along with the tides, using the waves to put them onto the shore to mate and lay their eggs. 10 days later, these eggs hatch, and are then carried back into the sea by the tide, coinciding with the peak high tide.

Then there’s the moonlight. For people who are living in the city, it can be hard to imagine a life that depends on moonlight. For animals, however, it’s a reality since the difference between the light of a full moon and a new moon can drastically change the landscape, and can either make or break their lives. It also influences a lot of communication, foraging and reproduction among a wide variety of animals.

“Light is possibly — maybe just after the availability of . . . food — the most important environmental driver of changes in behavior and physiology,” Davide Dominoni, an ecologist at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, said.

For example, lions from Tanzania are excellent night stalkers, using the Moon’s darker phases to their advantage, while their prey usually responds to the lunar cycle, parking themselves in close knit groups during the darker nights and foraging for food when the Moon is at its brightest.

“It’s a beautiful story. It offers a very clear example of how the presence or absence of the moon can have fundamental, ecosystem-level impacts,” Dominoni added.

moon China plans to send the next mission to the far side of the moon, called Chang'e-6, in the mid-2020s. Pixabay

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