National Academy Science Letters

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 199–203 | Cite as

A Prefatory Estimation of Diversity and Distribution of Moths in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Western Himalaya, India

Short Communication


A pilot assessment of moth distribution and diversity was conducted in the buffer zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Western Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India. A total of 771 specimens were collected along an elevational gradient between 2000 and 3800 m across different forest types (temperate, sub-alpine, alpine scrublands) in Joshimath and Lata. Specimens were collected using light-trapping method during April–June and September–October 2014. A declining trend in moth diversity along the elevation was found which can be correlated with food resources. Comparative analyses showed different forest types had a more prominent effect on species composition at Joshimath than Lata. The family Geometridae with 475 specimens was found to be the most abundant family across all the sampling plots. Indicator species for forest types and disturbance level can be identified for habitat-quality assessment program and conservation management of the landscape.


Moths Western Himalaya Diversity Geometridae Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve 



The study was a part of a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology. I am thankful to the Director and the Dean, Wildlife Institute of India for providing the opportunity to carry out this study. I want to thank the Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata for allowing me to use their collection for identification. I wish to extend my gratitude to the Divisional Forest Officer, Joshimath and his team of forest guards for providing logistic help and support. I am also thankful to Dr. Sutirtha Dutta, Wildlife Institute of India for helping me with the analysis and designing the study.


  1. 1.
    Barlow H, Woiwod I (2008) Moth diversity of a tropical forest in Peninsular Malaysia. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Intachat J, Chey VK, Holloway JD, Speight MR (1999) The impact of forest plantation development on the population and diversity of geometrid moths (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) in Malaysia. J Trop For Sci 11:329–336Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Intachat J, Holloway JD, Speight MR (1997) The effects of different forest management practices on geometrid moth populations and their diversity in Peninsular Malaysia. J Trop For Sci 9:411–430Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Arora GS (1997) Insecta: lepidoptera. In: Fauna conservation area 9: Fauna of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, pp 67–88Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Uniyal VP (2004) Butterflies of Nanda Devi National Park—a world heritage site. Indian For 130(7):800–804Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Quasin S (2011) Systematics and diversity of spiders (Araneae) in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. PhD thesis, Saurashtra UniversityGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hampson GF (1892) Fauna of British India moths-1. Taylor and Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hampson GF (1894) Fauna of British India moths-2. Taylor and Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hampson GF (1895) Fauna of British India moths-3. Taylor and Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hampson GF (1896) Fauna of British India moths-4. Taylor and Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Axmacher JC, Brehm G, Hemp A, Tünte H, Lyaruu HVM, Müller-Hohenstein K, Fiedler K (2009) Determinants of diversity in Afrotropical herbivorous insects (Lepidoptera: Geometridae): plant diversity, vegetation structure or abiotic factors? J Biogeogr 36:337–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Highland SA, Miller JC, Jones JA (2013) Determinants of moth diversity and community in a temperate mountain landscape: vegetation, topography, and seasonality. Ecosphere 4:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sanyal AK, Uniyal VP, Chandra K, Bhardwaj M (2013) Diversity, distribution pattern and seasonal variation in moth assemblages in altitudinal gradient in Gangotri landscape, Western Himalaya. J Threat Taxa 5(2):3646–3653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rahbek C (1995) The elevational gradient of species richness: a uniform pattern? Ecography 18(2):200–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rahbek C (2005) The role of spatial scale and perception of large-scale species richness patterns. Ecol Lett 8(2):224–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sanyal AK, Uniyal VP, Chandra K, Bhardwaj M (2011) Diversity and indicator species of moth (Lepidoptera: Heterocera) assemblages in different vegetation zones in Gangotri landscape, Western Himalaya. ENVIS Bull Arthropods Conserv (Insects Spiders) 14(1):116–132Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rae DA, Armbruster WS, Edwards ME, Svengård-Barre M (2006) Influence of microclimate and species interactions on the composition of plant and invertebrate communities in alpine northern Norway. Acta Oecol 29:266–282ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yela JL, Holyoak M (1997) Effects of moonlight and meteorological factors on light and bait trap catches of noctuid moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Environ Entomol 26:1283–1290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Coddington JA, Agnarsson I, Miller JA, Kuntner M, Hormiga G (2009) Undersampling bias: the null hypothesis for singleton species in tropical arthropod surveys. J Anim Ecol 78:573–584CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Beck J, Brehm G, Fiedler K (2011) Links between the environment, abundance and diversity of Andean moths. Biotropica 43:208–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Glowka L, Burhenne-Guilmin F, Synge H (1994) A guide to the convention on biological diversity. Environmental policy and law paperGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wildlife Institute of IndiaChandrabani, DehradunIndia
  2. 2.Zoological Survey of IndiaKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations