Chapter

Significance in Natural and Human Communities

Jerry A. Powell and Paul A. Opler

in Moths of Western North America

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780520251977
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943773 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251977.003.0003
Significance in Natural and Human Communities

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This chapter discusses the major role of Lepidoptera populations in natural and human communities. Lepidoptera larvae damage agricultural crops and are a major problem in stored meal, grain, nuts, and in woolen products. Conversely, they play significant roles in pollination in natural communities and aid in crop pollination. Caterpillars convert complex chemical energy in plants to digestible food for other members of the food chain. Lepidoptera are also decomposers, assisting in reducing fallen leaves and fruit, fungi, and animal products to humus. Several species are also introduced as biological control agents.

Keywords: Lepidoptera; natural communities; human communities; pollination; biological control agents

Chapter.  687 words. 

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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