Night pollinators

  • IASbaba
  • February 22, 2022
  • 0
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Night pollinators

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Science and technology 

Context: Recently, a new study has revealed that moths (especially nocturnal pollinators) are vital to pollination in the Himalayan ecosystem of northeast India.

Key Highlights of the 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.
  • Teliphasa sp. (Crambidae) and Cuculia sp. (Noctuidae) are found to carry the highest quantity of pollen.

About Moths

  • Moths are a paraphyletic group of insects that includes all members of the order Lepidoptera that are not butterflies, with moths making up the vast majority of the order. 
  • Generally moths are considered mysterious denizens of nights, and for a long time they were better known as pest species.
  • There are about 12,000 moth species in India and about 160,000 moth species in the world, and the study can go a long way in understanding the role of the nocturnal insect pollinators.
  • Compared with butterflies, moths have stouter bodies and duller colouring. 
  • Moths also have distinctive feathery or thick antennae.
  • The moth life cycle has four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult (imago). 
  • The larvae and adults of most moth species are plant eaters.

News Source: TH

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