Schematic relationship of the moon phases, the tides, Clunio's moonlight sensitivity and the locally adapted diurnal and lunar emergence times. Time of day (in hours) is plotted against time in the lunar cycle (in days). The black area represents the dark phase. The grey shading indicates when the moon is in the sky. The red box marks the circadian period of sensitivity of Clunio to moonlight [24,28]. As a consequence, moonlight can theoretically be detected throughout the moonlit quarters around full moon. We hypothesize that the water level additionally influences the detectability of moonlight: Moonlight is best perceived when the time of low tide (blue dotted lines) falls to midnight, so that presence of the moon in the sky, Clunio's moonlight sensitivity and the low tide coincide (yellow box). As tidal regimes differ for other places along the coast (compare A, B and C), the time when moonlight is best perceived differs. Nevertheless, all known Clunio populations emerge during the spring tides, i.e. short after new moon and/or full moon. Thus, they must respond to the moonlight stimulus with a different delay of their emergence peak (indicated by the yellow bars below the graph). According to our hypothesis this should correspond to the time between the artificial moonlight treatment and the emergence peak in the respective laboratory strain (see Figure 4). Note, that the time span between low tide at midnight and full moon/new moon (yellow bars) is highly correlated with the daytime of low tide on full moon/new moon days (green bars, compare Figure 5).
Kaiser et al. BMC Genetics 2011 12:49 doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-49