Abstract

Moth Species Diversity and Abundance Across Different Habitat Types in South Africa Savanna

Ruthann Antolik, Brettney Lamp

We recorded moth species richness and diversity at the Wits Rural Facility in the Limpopo province, South Africa. It was conducted from January 5th to January 10th. The purpose of this study was to observe whether moth community composition changed across three different habitats within the South African savanna biome. Those habitats were the ecotone, our campsite, which represented a disturbed habitat, and woodland. We compared these three habitats because each one is different enough to foster different morphotypes, but they are also close enough to have an overlap in morphotypes. We expected the disturbed habitat to have the highest abundance and richness because it is very well lit, attracting many moths. Moth traps were set within each habitat by hanging white sheets and placing a lantern in their proximity to attract moths. We set three replicates in each habitat. The moths were collected the following morning between 4:30 AM and 5:30 AM. The collection was done for four days. Collected moths were placed in a “kill jar”, a container with acetone in the lid's compartment to collect moths without damaging their wings. We categorized 37 moth morphotypes and counted their relative abundance. Overall, there were more morphotypes collected in the disturbed habitat, as well as more moths collected overall. Our results suggest a very limited overlap in morphotypes across different habitats.

Modified Abstract

Moth Species Diversity and Abundance Across Different Habitat Types in South Africa Savanna

Ruthann Antolik, Brettney Lamp

The purpose of this study was to observe whether moth community composition changed across three different habitats within the South African savanna biome: woodland, ecotone and disturbed habitat. We expected the disturbed habitat to have highest abundance and richness because it is well lit, attracting many moths. Moth traps were set within each habitat by hanging white sheets and placing a lantern in their proximity to attract moths. Moths were collected before dawn and subsequently classified by morphotype. Overall, there were more morphotypes collected in the disturbed habitat, as well as more moths collected overall. Our results suggest that there is limited overlap in morphotypes across different habitats.

Research Category

Biology/Ecology

Primary Author's Major

Biology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. David Ward

Mentor #2 Information

Dr. Sara Tomiolo

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

21-3-2017 12:00 AM

Research Area

Entomology | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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Mar 21st, 12:00 AM

Moth Species Diversity and Abundance Across Different Habitat Types in South Africa Savanna

Moth Species Diversity and Abundance Across Different Habitat Types in South Africa Savanna

Ruthann Antolik, Brettney Lamp

We recorded moth species richness and diversity at the Wits Rural Facility in the Limpopo province, South Africa. It was conducted from January 5th to January 10th. The purpose of this study was to observe whether moth community composition changed across three different habitats within the South African savanna biome. Those habitats were the ecotone, our campsite, which represented a disturbed habitat, and woodland. We compared these three habitats because each one is different enough to foster different morphotypes, but they are also close enough to have an overlap in morphotypes. We expected the disturbed habitat to have the highest abundance and richness because it is very well lit, attracting many moths. Moth traps were set within each habitat by hanging white sheets and placing a lantern in their proximity to attract moths. We set three replicates in each habitat. The moths were collected the following morning between 4:30 AM and 5:30 AM. The collection was done for four days. Collected moths were placed in a “kill jar”, a container with acetone in the lid's compartment to collect moths without damaging their wings. We categorized 37 moth morphotypes and counted their relative abundance. Overall, there were more morphotypes collected in the disturbed habitat, as well as more moths collected overall. Our results suggest a very limited overlap in morphotypes across different habitats.