NO celestial object has inspired more myth and legend than the moon - pale, mysterious, waxing and waning, inspiration for lovers, creator of tides and trigger for werewolves; personified as a deity or a demon or just the man in the moon (though some cultures see a rabbit or a frog or a toad). Wild behavior is blamed on the full moon - and the word "lunacy" comes from the Latin name for the moon goddess.
In his new book, "Moonstruck: How Lunar Cycles Affect Life," Ernest Naylor writes that this history of fantasy and fable has made us too skeptical of actual moon-related effects on earthly beings. While modern science accepts that the sun's 24-hour circadian pattern is wired into the genes of many species, he says, "scientists fearing ridicule" are wary of studying similar moon-related phenomena.
Naylor, a professor emeritus of marine biology and ocean science at Britain's Bangor University, sets out to counter that reluctance by citing patterns, mostly in the marine animals that are his specialty, of moon-related behavior. Crayfish, for example, adjust their activity levels in response to the phases of the moon, even when the sky is overcast and they can't perceive moonlight