New species of bagworm moth discovered from Idukki

New species of bagworm moth discovered from Idukki

Researchers from the Zoology Department at St. Thomas College (Autonomous), Thrissur, have discovered a new species of bagworm moth, Wizard Bagworm, from near the Nariyampara falls in Idukki district.

The new species has been named Eumasia venefica due to the peculiar shape of its bag, which resembles a wizard’s hat.

“The case of the moth reminded us of the wizard hats in the Harry Potter series. We would like to call the species Wizard Bagworm moth not only because of its case but also because of the clever camouflage employed to escape predators,” say the researchers.

Most Psychidae moths are small-sized characterised by a larval case building. Eumasia venefica is the fourth species of this genus to be discovered from India. The same team had discovered Eumasia thomasii last year.

Larval cases of this species are found attached to rocks covered with lichens. The cases attach to each other and form a lichen covered colony. The larval bags look like a ‘witch’s hat’ because of a disc-like anterior and a tubular posterior part. Unlike many other Psychids, E. venefica is not a polyphagous pest as its larvae only feed on the algae and mosses on the rocks.

The discovery is part of research of Ph.D. scholar Usha A.U., supervised by Joyce Jose, Assistant Professor of Zoology at the college. They were assisted by global expert on Psychidae, Thomas Sobczyk from Hoyerswerda, Germany, and Roby T.J., Assistant Professor of Botany, Carmel College, Mala. The discovery was published in Zootaxa, an international scientific journal on October 5.

The same team of researchers had earlier discovered a new genus and species ofPsychidae Capulopsyche keralensis.

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