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What can a moth teach us about the importance of knowing biodiversity?

<span class ="caption"> The adult Cercophana frauenfeldii moth flies in late summer and autumn in the southern hemisphere, in the forests of a biodiversity hotspot. </span> <span class ="attribution"> <span class ="license"> Author provided </span> </span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY3NS4zMzMzMzMzMzMzMzM0/–~B/aD0xMDEzO3c9MTQ0MDthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg–/″ data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY3NS4zMzMzMzMzMzMzMzM0/–~B/aD0xMDEzO3c9MTQ0MDthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg–/″/></p>
<p>The adult Cercophana frauenfeldii moth flies in late summer and autumn in the southern hemisphere, in the forests of a biodiversity hotspot.  Author provided</p>
<p>We recognize today that the world’s biodiversity is important and that it is being subjected to great threats as a result of the activities of humanity.  As part of the vast diversity of living beings, invertebrates make up the largest proportion (> 99%) of the species on our planet.  However, the scarcity of information and the little knowledge that we have about this huge group of organisms that perform important functions for humans, such as pollination, is surprising.</p>
<p>Invertebrates also have other very relevant ecological functions.  Among them, the decomposition of organic matter, and serve as a food resource for birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.</p>
<p>The situation of ignorance about a biodiversity that is disappearing can be illustrated very well with the case of a moth belonging to the Saturniidae family, known as the Andean moon moth (Cercophana frauenfeldii).  Apart from the existence of some adult specimens in scientific collections, only its last larval stage and its cocoon were known.</p>
<h2>The interwoven fabric of biodiversity</h2>
<p>In a recent study, we have added new observations for this species of lepidoptera, including the morphology of the egg and all its larval stages, as well as aspects of its life cycle throughout the year.</p>
<p>New records of its geographic distribution and its host plants were also added.  This last aspect is of special relevance for conservation, since one of the three tree species (Gomortega keule) on which the larvae feeds, and which would precisely be the most important for this moth, has a restricted distribution.  It only lives in coastal areas of south-central Chile, where it is currently in danger of extinction.</p>
<p>Furthermore, these three tree species are unique to an ancient lineage within angiosperms (flowering plants).  This suggests that this insect originated on the supercontinent Gondwana, more than 100 million years ago.</p>
<p>Read more</p>
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These host timber are additionally endemic inhabitants of an ecosystem that’s half of an space of ​​precedence importance for world biodiversity, referred to as the Chilean Valdivian forest with winter rains. This ecosystem develops in a closely altered space. The unique forest has been largely changed by pine and eucalyptus plantations, unique species very engaging to the timber business, and to a lesser extent by city growth and agricultural actions.

The temperate forest the place this moth survives is dwelling to quite a few different endemic species of bugs and likewise to mollusks, vertebrates, fungi and crops, a number of of them with very restricted and distinctive geographic distributions.

Preserve all items of the ecosystem

To make sure the survival of the moth, in addition to its companions on this threatened ecosystem, it’s important to guard the remaining pure vegetation, which at the moment is lowered to small fragments and a few streams.

In distinction to this urgency, the endangered tree that’s the host of this insect is just protected by the State of Chile in an space of ​​lower than 150 hectares, which vastly reduces the space of ​​helpful habitat for this insect.

Moreover, there are different questions about facets that will affect its conservation, however that are at present completely unknown: which animals are predators of this moth? What animals compete along with her for assets? How does local weather change have an effect on you? The difficulties in learning these facets lie in the low abundance of specimens of the moth, the great amount of discipline work required and the remoteness to the cities the place scientists who can examine it stay.

The importance of bugs in ecosystems

The ecological capabilities that this species of insect performs in the ecosystem are nonetheless completely unknown. That’s the reason it is very important discover out extra particulars about its pure historical past and its relationships with different species.

Bugs are identified to be important in the planet’s ecosystems. That is one of the the reason why there may be nice concern at the moment about the alarming fee of extinction of insect species.

On the different hand, in the scientific neighborhood there may be additionally concern for moral causes, since the existence of an organism has importance by itself. On this sense, bugs are deprived attributable to our human bias, which supplies increased worth to vertebrate species than to smaller and fewer conspicuous invertebrates.

As we study extra about the pure historical past of this moth, we will design the essential actions to advertise its conservation. Thus, as we see on this specific case, scientific work permits little by little to disclose extra particulars of species of which we all know surprisingly little. So little, that the identify that scientists have given to sure organisms when verifying their existence is hardly identified.

It is very important be aware that, as people, our curiosity in conserving biodiversity stems from consciousness and appreciation of its importance. This encourages us to study extra about the species of residing beings that stay with us on the planet, utilizing scientific analysis. Solely once we know one thing can we actually admire it. On this manner, the data we generate might be an important enter to make use of to protect what we worth a lot.

This text was initially revealed on The Dialog. Learn the authentic.

Diego Muñoz-Concha obtained funds that partially contributed to this analysis from CONICYT / ANID (FONDECYT initiation N ° 11110375).

Enrique A. Mundaca Ortega doesn’t obtain a wage, nor does he perform consulting work, nor does he personal shares, nor does he obtain financing from any firm or group that can receive profit from this text, and he has declared that he lacks related hyperlinks past the aforementioned tutorial place.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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