Rare moth species Mimeusemia ceylonica spotted after 127 years
According to the article authors, George Hampson recorded Mimeusemia ceylonica at Thirukonamalai in Sri Lanka in 1893, and it was not recorded elsewhere across the world since then.
Published: 11th March 2023 06:02 AM | Last Updated: 11th March 2023 06:02 AM | A+A A-
THOOTHUKUDI: Mimeusemia ceylonica, a rare moth species which was last recorded in Sri Lanka 127 years ago, has been rediscovered now in Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli, as per an article published by S Thalavai Pandi, a research associate at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) and P Prashant, project coordinator, Tamil Nadu Wetlands Mission, in the science journal 'Species'. The findings are based on moth surveys conducted twice a month since 2018.
According to the article authors, George Hampson recorded Mimeusemia ceylonica at Thirukonamalai in Sri Lanka in 1893, and it was not recorded elsewhere across the world since then. This is the first time this moth species is being recorded in India, they said.
Mimeusemia ceylonica species belonging to the subfamily Agaristinae and family Noctuidae was first sighted in India during a moth survey conducted by Thalavai Pandi in 2020 at the Agasthyamalai Community-based Conservation Centre (ACCC) situated in the buffer zone of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) in Tirunelveli district.
Speaking to TNIE, the lead author, lepidopterologist Thalavai Pandi, said he sighted M.ceylonica first on October 11, 2020, at the ACCC campus, and then on November 5, 2021, at the same campus. Only a single individual was recorded during both occasions, he said.
While giving a miss at the ACCC campus during the subsequent survey held in 2022, M.ceylonica was recorded at Vallanadu Black Buck sanctuary on November 5, 2022, said Pandi who conducts moth survey at Manimutharu, Thamirabarani river basin, grasslands, forest edge, and the evergreen forest of KMTR.
He added that the species was photographed for the first time now, as there was only an illustration about the species in literature so far. "It is the first time the species is recorded in India. The other species found in India on the same genus Mimeusemia are namely M. basalis, M. peshwa, M. postica, M. albicilia," said Pandi, who has recorded more than 1,000 moth species in the region.
Describing the species, the lepidopterologist said M. ceylonica is a crepuscular moth, which comes out in the evening shortly after dusk. Interestingly, M. ceylonica has been recorded only during the northeast monsoon since 2020, he said and added that its life history remains unknown due to a deficiency of data. "We could not attempt genitalia dissection because we recorded only a single individual of this species," he added.