Lunar and Solar Eclipses
Solar eclipses are a cosmic phenomenon that take place when the portion of earth is blocked by the shadow of moon, leading to complete or partial blockade of direct sunlight on the Earth. Solar eclipses however, not only effect environmental processes but also impact the life of living beings either humans or animals, most importantly their sleeping cycles. Most of the animals inhabiting the earth surface have their daily or yearly life cycles dependent of the light-dark cycle.
How it impacts the lives of living organisms?
Whether it be the cycles of sun or moon, these have a great impact on the lives of animals. The amount of light they experience controls most of their routine functions such as sleep-wake cycle, foraging, migration and breeding patterns. The light greatly impacts their natural behaviors. It has been reported that birds, fish, bats and spider all diverge from their routine in case of solar or lunar eclipses.
The lunar synodic cycle comprises of 28 days in which the moon completes one cycle from full moon to full moon again. It impacts both Moon’s gravitational pull, Earth’s magnetic field and the levels of light that reaches the earth surface at night. Most of the animals synchronize their breeding patterns with such cycles. However, the unexpected lunar and solar eclipses impact the lives of many animals.
Animals affected by eclipses:
Whether it be hippos, birds, fishes or bats all show unusual living patterns during such times. The nocturnal birds and animals weigh the burden of oversleeping whereas the birds and fish active during the day head for their resting places. It has been reported that Hippos mostly inhabiting Zimbabwe feel stressed and tired during the eclipses. Once the daylight disappears, the animals move towards resting places. During this movement, when light appears back after an eclipse, the Hippos terminate their migration thus feeling agitated.
What are lunar eclipses?
Lunar eclipse is formed when the shadow of Earth completely falls over the moon. In this case, the Sun and Earth are very closely aligned. The moon appears to be red and thus are called ‘blood moons’. However, this only happens in the case of full moon and has the same impacts on animals as solar eclipses have. One of the animals impacted by this is the Azara’s owl monkeys in Argentina, the nocturnal animals who stopped foraging during dark according to a report revealed in 2010.
Another phenomenon called the supermoon, causes light levels at night to increase incredibly. The nocturnal animals such as barnacle geese showed patterns of increased heart rates and body temperature as they had to remain awake during the night.
Lunar eclipses and humans:
The impact of lunar eclipse on humans has remained a matter of controversy for long as for some people the full moon impacts human physiology, fertility and behaviors. For others it has no significant impact on humans as many reports were published by the end of 1980s that showed a missing link between humans and lunar eclipses. However, the impact of eclipses on animals remains largely effective.