Moth Magic - an introduction to moths

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Moth Magic - An Introduction to Moths a brief into to the magic world of moths, looking at survival strategies of adults and larvae; ecosystem function; moth conservation and how to record moths

Transcript of Moth Magic - an introduction to moths

  • Moth Magic An Introduction to Moths by Dr. Roger C. KENDRICK C & R Wildlife, Hong Kong founder: Asian Lepidoptera Conservation Symposium
  • Introduction to Moths Diversity Survival Strategies Ecological Services Role in Wildlife Conservation Recording moths
  • Moth Diversity over 160,000 scientifically described species 150,000 to 200,000 thought to be awaiting description or discovery! (mostly in the tropics) many ecological niches and almost all terrestrial habitats occupied many species / higher taxa specially adapted to particular ecological niche, thus good indicators of habitat change, environmental impact or quality
  • Survival Strategies Adult Moths Mimicry plants & lichens: leaves, twigs, tree trunks, (colour and shape/posture) animals: mammal faces; snakes; unpalatable insects spiders, wasps, bees, poisonous moths & butterflies; bird droppings
  • Survival Strategies Adult Moths Sound detection of ultrasound to avoid bats; emitting sound to advertise unpalatability (Arctiinae) or pacify bees (Acherontia) Colour use of simple bold bright patterns to advertise unpalatability flash colours to surprise
  • Survival Strategies Moth Larvae Mimicry plants & lichens: leaves, twigs, tree trunks, (colour and shape/posture) animals: snakes; bird droppings
  • Survival Strategies Moth Larvae Concealment crypsis; leaf rolling; leaf mining; webs; stem borers; root feeders; nocturnal feeders Colour use of simple bold bright patterns to advertise unpalatability
  • Ecological Services Pollination Food resources Nutrient Recycling Pest control
  • Role of Moths in Wildlife Conservation high biodiversity, high relative abundance and relative ease of identification make moths: 1. a good group for monitoring effects of ecological processes and factors that affect these processes 2. indicate habitats and landscapes likely to be of high conservation value
  • Role of Moths in Wildlife Conservation good for hands on demonstration of ecological strategies and connecting with nature
  • Recording Moths Lights Traps Nets Baits Larvae Photography Weather Keeping Records Publishing
  • Lights Mercury vapour (MV) Actinic (ultraviolet/UV) Light Emitting Diode (LED) Tungsten (Incandescent) Halogen
  • Traps Sheet needs to be manned at all times. Good in the tropics Not good for abundance samples. Box Heath and Skinner traps. Catch retention reasonable, but a long way from perfect. Bucket Robinson trap most efficient design, but still well short of 100% catch retention. Large traps not very portable, smaller versions for use with actinic tubes more portable.
  • Other important methods Rearing essential to understand the ecological role of each species. Takes time, manpower and lots of TLC. Will result in finding many species not recorded at light traps. Baiting species specific pheromone traps, sugar or mineral or even other baits. Intensive effort, usually for only a limited number of species. Dont always get the target audience! Netting useful for diurnal and crepuscular species, also finding larvae (sweeping).
  • Photography digital camera macro function close focus control of flash best views to shoot for i.d. photo storage
  • Weather Light trapping: avoid high wind & heavy rain; light rain / mist and warm conditions seem best; in HK night time min between 17C and 28C optimal; in UK between 8C and ? (not warm enough) in Singapore not much variation (so what happens if theres a rise in temperature?) larval searching: avoid heavy rain (everything washed away!) sugar/bait/pheromone: calm weather best Slide 16
  • Keeping Records what was recorded; where seen/collected; when recorded; who made the observation; who made the id; sight record, voucher specimen (where kept), or photo; kept in notebook or on computer database; submit data to appropriate organisation (e.g. national or local nature society, biological records centre, global data centre - GBIF).
  • Publishing individual records of note or a species life history; summary of a single recording event site or area lists changes in species seen or phenology (long term data), distribution . . .
  • Why are moths magic ? because . . . . Survival strategy: colours; shapes; behaviour Biodiversity: high species richness Involvement: community and individual Value: conservation, ecosystem and cultural
  • Acknowledgments: Attendees Thank you (Hong Kong) Asian Lepidoptera Conservation Symposia ALCS3 - Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India, 2010; ALCS4 - Nankai University, Tianjin, China, 2012.
  • Moth Magic - Questions ?