SONAM PENJOR | Thimphu
To create awareness on conservation and research efforts and to update on the status of knowledge based on invertebrate’s inventory and conservation programs, a book on ‘Moths of Bhutan’ was launched on 17 February in the capital.
The event was organized by the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) in collaboration with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Forestry Research and Training (UWICER), and the Honorary Consul of the Netherlands to Bhutan.
According to the NBC, the book is the result of the international cooperation under the purview of post-project of the National Invertebrates Project funded by the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) since 2014.
The project was coordinated by NBC in collaboration with the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in the Netherlands, College of Natural Resources, UWICER under the Department of Forests and Park Services, and the National Plant Protection Centre.
A press release from the NBC states that the ‘Moths of Bhutan’ book is the most comprehensive book on moths published till date and it consists of more than 1,900 species of moths found in Bhutan.
The book is a part of systematic study to document the moth diversity in the country and it establishes a national baseline and sheds light on the diversity of moths.
The book also includes a checklist of all moths and will be valuable to field personnel working in the field of biodiversity as well as public who are interested in this field of study.
Program Director for the NBC, Dr Karma Dema Dorji said the publication of books has resulted numerous expeditions, discoveries, and description of new species such as dragon flies, beetles, snails, damselflies, bees and wasps and moths not only to Bhutan but new to the science.
She said the book would also contribute towards science and inspire many of us to further study and conserve the invertebrate diversity.
“We often tend to overlook or neglect little things in life, though they play important roles, and they are as beautiful,” she added.
According to the book, Bhutan is part of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot and its well preserved nature reserves range from subtropical forest in the lowland to high altitude alpine meadows. It is, therefore, no surprise that the country is home to a high diversity of moths and butterflies.
Thus far the study of the moths of Bhutan received little attention and less than 450 species have been published for the territory of Bhutan.
Based on the field work conducted in 2016 onwards, the book provides an updates overview of the moths of Bhutan listing almost 2,000 species for its territory. “This is still less than half of the species likely to occur in Bhutan and much remains to be discovered.”
Karma Wangdi from UWICER said that the study about the moths started in 2014 in collaboration with the NBC.
People are confused about moths and butterflies. He said moth can be seen only in the night whereas, butterflies can be seen only in the daytime.
Karma Wangdi said that moths can be easily distinguished from butterflies, one very good guiding principle is that butterflies who have thin antennae, have small balls or clubs at the end of their antennae.Moth antennae can be quite varied in appearance butlack the club end.
Although many people overlook them, Karma Wangdi said that moths are numerous and widespread, living in a wide range of habitat. “They are a major part of our biodiversity and play vital roles in the ecosystem, affecting many other types of wildlife,” he added.
Since moths are widespread and found in different habitats, moths can also determine the health of the environment. He said monitoring their numbers and ranges can give us vital clues to changes in our own environment, such as the affect of new farming practices, air pollution and climate change.
Meanwhile, the specimens of moths are deposited at the National Invertebrates Repository at the NBC and the UWICER. The book was launched by Dasho Paljor J. Dorji along with the senior officials from the conservation sector in Thimphu.
Along with the book launched, a series of seminars were conducted to advocate on the invertebrate’s conservation and to update on the invertebrates’ inventory program in the country.
Presentations on moths’ inventory, citizen-science initiatives, birds and invertebrates, bees and wasps, and dragonflies and damselflies were conducted.