An article has been published in the journal Biology Letters that opens the veil of secrecy over the role of night moths in pollination - and the role, in comparison with the work of daytime pollinators, is complex and extensive.
Moths carry pollen from plants also visited by bees, butterflies and beetles, but interact with plants, usually ignored by day pollinators.
It turned out that pollen is most often carried on the underside of the thoracic moth, which allows it to easily get on and other plants.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Richard Walton (Dr Richard Walton), working at University College London (University College London, UCL), tells :
“Night moths play an important, but underestimated, environmental role. They complement the work of day pollinators, helping to maintain the diversity and abundance of plant populations. They also provide natural conservation of biodiversity, and without them many species of plants and animals, including birds and bats that eat them, would be in danger.
Previous pollen transfer studies by settled moths have focused on their proboscis. However, moths sit on a flower during feeding, and often their hairy bodies often touch the reproductive organs of the flower. This happy occasion helps the pollen spread. ”
The population of night moths is declining throughout the world. We can lose the most important pollinators by standing on the threshold of understanding their role in maintaining ecosystem stability.
Walton’s colleague, Dr. Jan Axmacher notes:
“In recent decades, science has focused on solitary and social bees, due to anxiety about a sharp decrease in their number, which has a strong negative impact on the yield of insect-pollinated crops.
But sedentary nocturnal butterflies, which are represented by a much larger number of species, h m bees were out of interest-pollination research. Our work emphasizes the urgent need to incorporate them into future agricultural management strategies. ”
A study of night pollinators was conducted during the growing seasons (from March to October) 838 and 2017 years on the outskirts of nine ponds, located in the middle of agricultural fields in Norfolk (UK).
Communities of night moths and day pollinators were studied once a month. The task was to understand what plants they visited and how often.
From 838 investigated moths on 57 (, 5%) was pollen was found 45 of various plant species, including at least seven rarely visited by bees, little beetles and butterflies. 57% of pollen transferred was found on the ventral part of the thoracic moth.
Dr. Walton concludes:
“Although bumblebees and honey bees are known to be super pollinators, they they are mainly interested in the most abundant sources of nectar and pollen.
Moths may seem less efficient pollinators compared to them, but their high diversity and abundance can make them critical to pollination. Our research sheds light on the little-known world of nighttime interactions of plants and insects, which can be vital both for preserving the appearance and aroma of our precious countryside, and for the crops we grow. ”