Diversity and Habitat Preferences of Moths (Insecta: Lepidoptera) in Indikadamukalana, a Lowland Wet Zone Forest in Sri Lanka
The moths (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of Sri Lanka have not been well studied and no comprehensive scientific study on their diversity has been carried out over the past 100 years. Thus, establishing species richness and diversity of moths in different habitats of the island is important. The present study was carried out to investigate moth species diversity and habitat factors which can affect moths in Indikadamukalana Forest Reserve situated in the wet zone of Sri Lanka. Moth diversity of the forest was investigated for a period of approximately seven months in 2018, where two habitat types as forest edge and within forest were studied. Transect line count method was used to sample diurnal moths and light traps were used to study nocturnal moths. Aerial nets and fruit-baited traps were used to improve the sampling efficiency. Weather parameters of the two habitat types were estimated using a potable weather station. A total of 138 moth species of 19 families were recorded, with forest edge habitat recording 18 families (91 species) and within the forest habitat recording 15 families (47 species). Crambidae and Erebidae were the most prominent families of moths found in both habitats of the forest. Gelechiidae was recorded only from within the forest habitat while Sphingidae, Hepialidae, Tortricidae and Bombycidae were recorded only from the forest edge habitat. Weather parameters between the two habitats did not depict a significant difference. Maintenance of Sri Lanka’s biodiversity hotspot status lies within the wet zone of the country. Thus, long term studies of moth communities of the wet zone are of vital importance
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