Here on Earth, we have the moon’s gravitational pull to thank for the tides, among other things. But what about moonlight?

The light reflected off the moon has an effect on life on Earth, which isn’t surprising, but not every lunar influence is heralded by a wolf’s howl.

Looking at a few examples of moonlight’s subtler influences reveals how much the moon has shaped life on Earth in unexpected ways.

The moon and animal behavior

Some animals, especially nocturnal species, have adapted their hunting and mating activities to the light of the moon. Some animals simply see better at night or are aided by the light of the moon. In contrast, prey animals know that to be seen means to be eaten, so it’s prudent to hide when the moon is bright. And just as moonlight can influence predator-prey schedules, it also can influcence some mating behaviors. Read more.