Stay Out (Almost) All Night: Contrasting Responses in Flight Activity Among Tropical Moth Assemblages

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2015
Authors:LAMARRE, G, Mendoza, I, Rougerie, R, Decaëns, T, Hérault, B, BENELUZ, F
Journal:Neotropical Entomology
Pagination:7 pages
Date Published:02/2015
Keywords:Behavior, diel activity, light trap, monitoring, moth, tropical forest
Abstract:

<p>Variations in diel activity among hyperdiverse tropical communities of&nbsp;moths, despite representing a key component of niche partitioning between&nbsp;species, have barely been studied so far. Using light trapping from&nbsp;dawn to sunset over a 1-year period in French Guiana, we investigated&nbsp;these variations within and between two families of moths (Sphingidae&nbsp;and Saturniidae). Our results revealed contrasting patterns in flight activity&nbsp;at night between Sphingidae and Saturniidae. Sphingidae reached their&nbsp;peak in species richness and abundance between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.,&nbsp;followed by a decrease around 11:00 p.m. to midnight, whereas&nbsp;Saturniidae were continuously present throughout the night, with a peak&nbsp;around midnight. In addition, we found changes in diel activity among&nbsp;some of the most common genera in each family, highlighting distinct&nbsp;behavioral, physiological, and functional traits among taxa. Given differences&nbsp;in flight activity at different taxonomic levels, it is strongly recommended&nbsp;to monitor by light trapping throughout the night to effectively&nbsp;sample saturniid and sphingid assemblages, even though the activity of&nbsp;Sphingidae sharply declines after midnight. These results improve the&nbsp;general natural history information of tropical moths and reinforce the&nbsp;need of further research on the ecological and taxonomic consequences&nbsp;of differences in diel activity.</p>

DOI:10.1007/s13744-014-0264-3
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