New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2018) 42(1): -

The secret service – analysis of the available knowledge on moths as pollinators in New Zealand

Review Article
Max N. Buxton 1,3*
Barbara J. Anderson 2
Janice M. Lord 1
  1. Department of Botany, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. Landcare Research, Private Bag 1930, Dunedin, New Zealand
  3. The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, Ruakura Research Centre, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author
Abstract: 

On a global-scale, moths (Lepidoptera) are considered to be important pollinators for many plant families. However, the assumption that moths are also involved in pollination in New Zealand is underpinned by relatively little research. Here we review the evidence for moth pollination of flowering plants in New Zealand and compare the quality of evidence available with that of the global literature. Globally, the majority of experimental studies have focused on the hawkmoths (Sphingidae) and other specialist pollinators, leaving a substantial gap in knowledge concerning the role of smaller and more generalist moths as pollinators. New Zealand lacks native Sphingidae; however, members of Geometridae, Noctuidae and Erebidae, all identified as pollinators globally, are mentioned as flower-visitors in New Zealand more than expected given their family sizes. In addition to these families, Oecophoridae are mentioned as flower-visitors in New Zealand but this has not been documented globally, suggesting new mutualisms may have evolved in New Zealand. Eight plant families: Alseuosmiaceae, Argophyllaceae, Campanulaceae, Gentianaceae, Goodeniaceae, Montiaceae, Pittosporaceae and Stylidiaceae, were mentioned in the context of moth pollination in New Zealand, but not in the global literature. The Orchidaceae family is most frequently mentioned in the context of moth pollination globally, but was not mentioned at all in the New Zealand literature, despite two endemic genera, Winika and Earina, showing floral features suggestive of moth pollination. The evidence to support pollination by moths in New Zealand comes predominantly from observations of flower-visitation and assumptions based on floral features. As this is not proof of effective pollen transfer, detailed experimental studies are required before the importance of moths as pollinators in New Zealand can be accurately gauged.

 

Ki te ao whānui, he whakaaiai whakahirahira kā pepe (Lepidoptera) ki kā tipu whaipua. Heoi, he iti noa te puna rakahau hai taunaki i te whakatatau he orite te mahi a kā pepe i Aotearoa me Te Waipounamu (‘Aotearoa’). Ka tātari mātou i te rakahau e hākai ana ki te whakaaiai ā-pepe i kā tipu whaipua i Aotearoa, ā, ka whakatairite i te pai o te puna rakahau ki Aotearoa nei ki tō te ao. Ka arotahi te nuika o kā tuhika rakahau ā-ao ki kā ko Pepe Hīhue (Sphingidae) me ētahi atu pepe whakaaiai tauwhāiti. Kāore kā tuhika ā-ao e tirohia whānuitia te mahi a kā pepe iti iho me kā pepe mahi tauwhānui hai whakaaiai. Kāore he Sphingidae taketake ki Aotearoa, ekari ko ētahi pepe ko Pepe Tāwhana (Geometridae), ko Pepe Whānui (Noctuidae) ko Pepe Mokarakara (Erebidae) hoki, e mōhiotia ana he whakaaiai i kā tuhika ā-ao, ka meatia ki kā tuhika ā-Aotearoa he kaitoro-pua i kā wā maha, ahakoa te iti o ō rātou momo. I kitea hoki kā pepe Oecophoridae e toro-pua ana i kā tuhika ā-Aotearoa, kāore i kitea i kā tuhika ā-ao: he tohu pea ko panoni ētahi whakahoahoa hou ki Aotearoa. E waru kā momo tipu: Alseuosmiaceae, Argophyllaceae, Campanulaceae, Gentianaceae, Goodeniaceae, Montiaceae, Pittosporaceae me Stylidiaceae, i kitea i kā tuhika ā-Aotearoa e pā ana ki te whakaaiai ā-pepe, kāore i kitea i kā tuhika ā-ao. Ko pūputu rawa kā Orchidaceae i kā tuhika ā-ao e hākai ana ki te whakaaiai ā-pepe. Kāore kau i kitea taua momo pepe i kitea i kā tuhika ā-Aotearoa, ahakoa he momo tipu whaipua taketake ki konei, Winika me Earina, e whai āhuataka pua e hākai ana ki te whakaaiai ā-pepe. Ko te nuika o kā taunakitaka e tautoko ana i te whakaaiai ā-pepe i Aotearoa nei, he tirohaka ki te toro-pua me kā āhuataka pua. Ehara aua mea i kā tohu o te whakawhiti hae, nā reira me āta whakamātau kia mōhio ai te hira o kā pepe i Aotearoa hai whakaaiai.