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.
- 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