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Occurrence of Moths among Habitats in a Mixed Mesophytic Forest: Implications for Management of Forest Bats

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We used blacklight traps during summer 1992 to index the frequency of occurrence and species composition of moths in five habitats on an actively managed, mixed mesophytic forest in eastern Kentucky. The habitats sampled were clearings, poletimber (< 30 yr old), moderate-aged sawtimber (30-50 yr old), and mature timber (70-80 yr old); the latter habitat was only available at the base of cliffs and on top of cliffs, where no harvest restrictions were in effect. We identified 4,107 moths representing 158 species and 17 families in the catches. Moths in the family Arctiidae were captured most frequently (n = 1,389), whereas moths in the family Noctuidae comprised the largest number of species (n = 53). We captured the most species (n = 83) and families (n = 17) of moths in stands of mature timber at the base of cliffs, and the fewest species (n = 57) of moths in clearings. Moths in the families Yponomeutidae, Limacodidae, Pyralidae, Geometridae, and Notodontidae were captured most frequently in stands of moderate-aged sawtimber, whereas moths in the family Arctiidae were most common in stands of moderate-aged sawtimber and poletimber. We captured moths in the family Noctuidae most frequently in stands of mature timber on top of cliffs. Moths in the families Limacodidae, Geometridae, Notodontidae, and Arctiidae were captured less frequently in clearings than other habitats, suggesting less use of clearings by moths than the other habitats sampled. These data indicate that the frequency of occurrence and species composition of moths varied among habitats in a mixed mesophytic forest in eastern Kentucky, suggesting that forest management practices can influence the diversity and abundance of moth species. These results have implications for sustaining forest biodiversity, particularly vertebrate predators that feed on moths including forest-dwelling insectivorous bats. For. Sci. 45(3):323-332.

Keywords: Corynorhinus spp; Lepidopterans; bigeared bats; eastern Kentucky; forest management; timber harvesting

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Biology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292

Publication date: August 1, 1999

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