Moths are more important for pollination than we thought

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Time-lapse cameras are uncovering how crucial night-time visits from moths are for pollinating red clover, a valuable forage crop



Life



27 July 2022

The large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba)

The large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba) pollinates red clover flowers at night

Shutterstock/Natalia Zagaja

Spying on the nocturnal visits of moths to plants has exposed the insects’ overlooked role in pollination.

Using 15 time-lapse cameras, Jamie Alison at Aarhus University in Denmark and his colleagues have recorded what happens in a meadow in the Swiss Alps, 24 hours a day, over a whole summer. The team has found that moths account for 34 per cent of visits to red clover (Trifolium pratense), a wildflower that is a valuable forage crop for …



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