A study by scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has revealed that these group of insects are pollinators to a number of flowering plants in the Himalayan ecosystem.
About the study :
Under the project titled “Assessment of Moths (Lepidoptera) As Significant Pollinators in the Himalayan Ecosystem of North Eastern India”, scientists collected moth samples from different ecosystems.
The analysis of proboscis, a long and threadlike organ used to suck flower sap, of a dozen moth species’ revealed the presence of pollen grains.
The study was carried out in states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal.
Proboscis of different moth families, such as Erebidae and Sphingidae, were found to contain pollen of several flowering plants, including Rhododendron.
On observing the proboscis under scanning electron microscope, researchers observed that these structures are not only meant for sap sucking, but are morphological designed for pollination.
In some species of moths, the organ is found to be modified into a spine like structure and in others, a lateral canal to arrest and disperse pollen
Usually bees, wasps and butterflies are considered as prominent pollinators.
About 90% of the world’s flowering plants are pollinated by animals.
Pollinators are essential for the genetic exchange among flowering plants and the biodiversity among plants
All is not well :
Researchers have pointed out that almost two-thirds of common large moth species have declined over a period of 40 years in many parts of the world.
One of the main reasons for the decline is the increase in ecological light pollution, especially in areas inhabited by moths.
In India, estimates put the number of of moth species at nearly 12,000.
Saving hill garlic of Kerala from extinction
What is the issue ?
Hill garlic grown in the state of Kerala has been replaced by the other hybrid varieties of garlic in hill areas of Kerala owing to the long crop duration of the variety.
Kerala Agricultural University has taken the initiative to study, cultivate and promote the variety that is on the verge of extinction.
About hill garlic :
‘Malai poondu’ or hill garlic grown on the hills of Kanthalloor and Vattavada areas of Idukki district of Kerala are known for its unique flavour, pungency, taste, medicinal properties and longer shelf life.
The region, with a maximum temperature of 30 degree Celsius and minimum 14 degree Celsius is the only area in Kerala where garlic cultivation is being undertaken on a commercial scale
But the long crop duration of this indigenous variety of garlic had made the tribal farmers of the area cultivate hybrid varieties.
The tribal farmers are giving preference for the short duration varieties as they can harvest it in 90 to 120 days. Whereas, the hill garlic would take nearly 180 days for harvest.
Amur Falcon : What you need to know
About the Amur Falcon :
Placed in Least Concern category in IUCN's Red List
22,000 km journey (longest sea crossing of any raptor)
The journey :
Amur Falcon is a small bird of prey and is a long distance, trans-equatorial migrant, travelling from eastern Asia all the way to southern Africa and back every year.
Annually, in early autumn, these migrant falcons leave their Asian breeding range and travel to parts of northeast India and Bangladesh that act as staging areas for the overland flights across India.
In northeast India, they are known to collect in flocks numbering thousands, to feed and rest before continuing their journey.
Subsequently, they undertake the longest regular overwater migration of any bird of prey, crossing over the Indian Ocean between western India and tropical east Africa, a journey of more than 4,000 km, which includes nocturnal flight.
This species is adapted to the strong monsoon tailwinds, which results in its late arrival in eastern Africa in autumn.
Migrants are said to arrive in their southern African winter range in November-December and depart by early May.
The spring passage route is not clearly known, and it is suspected that they fly across the Arabian Peninsula, north through Afghanistan and then to East Asia.
Stop over in India :
Doyang Lake near Pangti village in Nagaland’s Wokha district is a known stopover for the Amur falcons during their annual migration from their breeding grounds in Mongolia and northern China to warmer South Africa.
The UmruTyrso area, about 75 km northeast of Shillong, however, is a relatively recent pit stop for the falcons.