Research, Technology

The main competitors of bees for pollination, or how moths do most of the work

Everyone knows that bees arean integral part of the ecosystem and one of their most important functions is pollination of plants. However, a new study shows that our view is not entirely true. There are other animals that do more than much of the hard work of pollinating plants and maintaining the natural resources we rely on. The results of a study conducted at the University of Sussex indicate that moths perform more efficient plant pollination than diurnal insects. This study highlights the underestimated role of moths in maintaining the ecosystem.

Some types of moths have a color that can scare away ill-wishers


  • 1 Ecosystem dependence on moths
  • 2 Meaning of moths
  • 3 Moths and plants
  • 4 The role of moths in nature

Ecosystem dependence on moths

Moths are amazing insects thatplay an important role in ecosystems and attract attention with their beauty and diversity. However, they are effective not only in pollination, but also in other important aspects of the life of nature. Moths are an important food for many animals, including birds, bats, and insectivorous mammals. Without moths, some animals may be left without food, which will affect the ecosystem. Also, few people know, but some types of moths, such as sphinxes, are able to extract nectar from flowers and produce honey. Honey obtained from moths is rarer and more valuable than honey obtained from bees.

There are about 180,000 known speciesmoths, and each of them has its own unique appearance and behavior. For example, there are stealth moths that can change their color to hide from predators, and wolf moths that can produce ultrasonic sounds to scare predators.

True, moths also have strange features, for example, an attraction to light, which can kill an insect. We discussed this topic in more detail in the article “Why do moths fly into the light?”.

Meaning of moths

In addition, in some countries, moths have longare a symbol of beauty, lightness and transformation. They are often depicted in the literature, art, and folklore of various cultures, as in Japanese culture, moths are associated with spring and vitality. In general, moths are of great use in nature, and their beauty and unique characteristics make them interesting subjects for scientific research and general observation.

Moths in different cultures have different meanings, but it is not necessary to give a special meaning, because you can just admire!

Moths and plants

Fiona Matthews, Professor of Environmental Biology atThe University of Sussex, notes: "While bees play an important role in pollination, our research shows that moths do much more efficiently in a shorter period of time."

The research team collected 389,677 photosfrom 10 sites over three days and observed 11,564 "insect flower visitation events" in which 38,216 pollen grains were recorded. Although moths made up only 16% of the total number of guest insects, their incomparably greater efficiency in moving and depositing pollen proved to be important for the life cycle of many plants.

Moth getting ready to pollinate a flower

Three quarters of agricultural cropsaround the world depend on insect pollination. Moths also appear to be important pollinators, but much less is known about them than about diurnal insects. However, the number of insects is declining due to climate change and the development of the urban environment.

Moths play an important role in pollination, but theiroften underestimated and little studied,” said Max Anderson, co-author of the study from the University of Sussex. “Most research on pollination is focused on diurnal insects, but at night there is a lot of important things that we know little about.

The role of moths in nature

Diurnal insects such as bees canspread pollen over long daylight hours, but moths work more efficiently in a short period of time. Adult moths do a hard work of pollination that deserves more recognition, even though caterpillars can be detrimental to plants in their juvenile stage of the life cycle.

You can express your opinion about the benefits of these representatives in our Telegram chat.

This study highlights the importance of urbanenvironment for wildlife conservation and offers simple solutions, such as turning off outdoor lights at night, which can help nocturnal pollinators focus on their vital work.