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Moths in Himalayan Ecosystem



Moths are vital to pollination in the Himalayan ecosystem of northeast India, reveals a recent study. The study establishes 91 species of moths as potential pollinators of 21 plant families in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the northeastern Himalayas.

  • The results assume significance as a majority of the pollination-related studies are based on diurnal pollinators (bees and butterflies) and the role of nocturnal pollinators have so far received less scientific attention.
  • The details of the study were recently published in Scientific Reports, a publication from the Nature group of journals.
  • In the present study about 65% moths (91 species) carried sufficient quantities of pollen grains to be considered as potential pollinators. Teliphasa sp. (Crambidae) and Cuculia sp. (Noctuidae) are found to carry the highest quantity of pollen.
  • Geometridae (geometer moths) and Erebidae (erebid moths, tiger moths, lichen moths, among others) turned out to be the most important moth families for pollen transportation in the Himalayan region.
  • Moths are a paraphyletic group of insects that includes all members of the order Lepidoptera that are not butterflies
  • While the butterflies form a monophyletic group, the moths, comprising the rest of the Lepidoptera, do not.