More on moth's 'secret' role as pollinators

Moths have a little-known, yet important role in plant pollination and a team of British researchers published a paper last week on the topic in the Royal Society's Biology Letters. The article details research on pollination of wild flowers in an agricultural setting in Norfolk (the original one, not the one on the Lake Erie shore...). Apparently, moths' hairy abdomens are under-researched as pollen transport vectors. From the abstract:

"Here, we report that in agricultural landscapes, macro-moths can provide unique, highly complex pollen transport links, making them vital components of overall wild plant–pollinator networks in agro-ecosystems. Pollen transport occurred more frequently on the moths' ventral thorax rather than on their mouthparts that have been traditionally targeted for pollen swabbing. Pollen transport loads suggest that nocturnal moths contribute key pollination services for several wild plant families in agricultural landscapes, in addition to providing functional resilience to diurnal networks. Severe declines in richness and abundance of settling moth populations highlight the urgent need to include them in future management and conservation strategies within agricultural landscapes."

For those looking for new reading material, there are dozens of references in the article that may be of interest.

Finally, here are two news articles on the research, from the BBC and from CNN. I'm not aware of any Canadian coverage yet.

If anyone knows of similar Canadian or U.S research, please let me know.

Posted by dkaposi dkaposi, May 18, 2020 16:25

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