WCS has released a stunning gallery of images of some of the moths uncovered by the groundbreaking Bolivian scientific expedition, Identidad Madidi. A staggering 10,000 species of moths may live in Madidi National Park -- considered the most biodiverse protected area on the planet. The moths were found in the montane savannas and gallery forests of the Apolo region.
The expedition's entomologist, Fernando Guerra Serrudo, Associate Researcher of the Bolivian Faunal Collection and the Institute of Ecology, said of Madidi's moths: "Moths are often very beautiful and present a diversity of shapes and patterns. In Bolivia, several species are known locally as 'taparaku' and feared because of the belief that when they are found in a house they indicate that someone in that home will die. In most cases the adults of these species do not feed and have very poorly developed mandibles. The whole purpose of their life is to reproduce."
Identidad Madidi is a multi-institutional effort to describe still unknown species and to showcase the wonders of Bolivia's extraordinary natural heritage at home and abroad. The expedition officially began on June 5th, 2015 and will eventually visit 14 sites lasting for 18 months as a team of Bolivian scientists works to expand existing knowledge on Madidi's birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish along an altitudinal pathway descending more than 5,000 meters (more than 16,000 feet) from the mountains of the high Andes into the tropical Amazonian forests and grasslands of northern Bolivia.
The first leg of the expedition, which concluded last month, uncovered a new frog, three probable new catfish, and a new lizard. The expedition currently underway is exploring three sites in the High Andes of Madidi, specifically within the Puina valley between 3,750 meters and 5,250 meters above sea level in Yungas paramo grasslands, Polylepis forests and high mountain puna vegetation.
Participating institutions in Identidad Madidi include the Ministry of the Environment and Water, the Bolivian National Park Service, the Vice Ministry of Science and Technology, Madidi National Park, the Bolivian Biodiversity Network, WCS, the Institute of Ecology, Bolivian National Herbarium, Bolivian Faunal Collection and Armonia with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and WCS.
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