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W. Büttiker, H. Krenn, J. Putterill (1996)The proboscis of eye-frequenting and piercing Lepidoptera (Insecta)
(2007)Accipitridae e Strigidae): mutualismo facultativo? Anais do VIII Congresso de Ecologia do Brasil
Hans Bänziger (1972)Biologie der lacriphagen Lepidopteren in Thailand und Malaya
Revue Suisse De Zoologie, 79
Roland Hilgartner, Mamisolo Raoilison, Willhelm Büttiker, D. Lees, H. Krenn (2007)Malagasy birds as hosts for eye-frequenting moths
Biology Letters, 3
H. Bänziger (1990)Moths with a taste for tears.
New Scientist, 128
J. Tewksbury, John Anderson, J. Bakker, Timothy Billo, M. Groom, S. Hampton, S. Herman, D. Levey, N. Machnicki, C. Rio, M. Power, Kirsten Rowell, A. Salomon, Liam Stacey, Stephen Trombulak, T. Wheeler (2014)Natural History's Place in Science and Society
N. Burkett-Cadena, Andrea Bingham, C. Porterfield, T. Unnasch (2014)Innate Preference or Opportunism: Mosquitoes Feeding on Birds of Prey at the Southeastern Raptor Center
(2007)Visita de abelhas a narinas de aves de rapina ( Accipitridae e Strigidae ) : mutualismo facultativo ?
I. Sazima (2015)Bee in the nose: raptors let or let not stingless bees enter their nostrils
Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23
David Plotkin, J. Goddard (2013)Blood, Sweat, and Tears: A Review of the Hematophagous, Sudophagous, and Lachryphagous Lepidoptera
S. Griffing (2007)Mosquito landing rates on nesting American robins (Turdus migratorius).
Vector borne and zoonotic diseases, 7 3
Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 392-394 ARTICLE December 2015 Save your tears: eye secretions of a Ringed Kingfisher fed upon by an erebid moth Ivan Sazima Museu de Zoologia, C.P. 6109, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CEP 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil. Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org Received on 22 June 2015. Accepted on 26 October 2015. ABSTRACT: Bodily fluids and secretions of bir ds are fed upon by flying insects, the best-known example being the worldwide blood-feeding mosquitoes. Much less known are the Neotropical mucus-feeding stingless bees, and the Malagasy tear-feeding moths. Herein I illustrate and briefly comment on a night-roosting Ringed Kingfisher female whose tears were fed upon b y an erebid moth in the Colombian Amazon. The moth perched on the bird’s neck and fed on the secretions in the anterior upper corner of the eye. Careful checking of night-roosting birds probably will disclose additional cases of Neotropical bird species sought by tear-feeding moths. KEY-WORDS: Megaceryle torquata, lachryphagy, Erebidae, Colombia, Neotropics. INTRODUCTION RESULTS Bodily fluids and secretions of bir ds are fed upon by A night-roosting Ringed Kingfisher (Me gaceryle torquata) several types of flying insects, the best-known example female was recorded on 04 December 2012 at 21:47h in being the worldwide blood-feeding mosquitoes (Griffing the area of Leticia (04°12'19"S, 69°55'58"W), department et al. 2007, Burkett-Cadena et al. 2014), no doubt due to of Amazonas in Colombia, Northwestern South America these insects’ role as pathogen vectors. Much less known (D. Doucette pers. comm.). The kingfisher roosted on a are the Neotropical mucus-feeding stingless bees (Lobato branch above a tributary of the Marañon River, a moth et al. 2007, Sazima 2015), or the Malagasy tear-feeding perched on the left side of the bird’s neck (Figure 1). A erebid moth (Hilgartner et al. 2007). Since lachryphagous closer approach disclosed an erebid moth (Azeta melanea) moths are mostly recorded exploiting mammals (Bänziger with its proboscis tip inserted under the nictitating 1972, 1990, Büttiker et al. 1996, Plotkin & Goddard 2013), the Malagasy case study piqued my interest about moths feeding on eye secretion of birds. METHODS I searched public online photo archives for any additional evidence of moths feeding upon bird tears. I found only one record (http://www.projectnoah.org/ spottings/32518118), a blog featuring four photos of a night-roosting kingfisher whose eye secretions were fed upon by a moth. I contacted the author, Dan Doucette, who kindly gave permission to make available his record FIGURE 1. A night-roosting female Ringed Kingfisher (Me gaceryle to the scientific community. Herein I illustrate and briefly torquata) in the Amazonian Colombia, with an erebid moth (Azeta comment on this remarkable example, seemingly the first melanea) perched on left side of the bird’s neck (yellow asterisk). record of such relationship for South America. Photo: ©Dan Doucette. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015 Save your tears: eye secretions of a Ringed Kingfisher fed upon b y an erebid moth Ivan Sazima FIGURE 2. A night-roosting female Ringed Kingfisher (Me gaceryle torquata) with and erebid moth (Azeta melanea) feeding on its eye secretions. The moth has its proboscis tip inserted under the nictitating membrane. P hoto: ©Dan Doucette. membrane at the upper corner of the bird’s eye (Figure et al. 2007). On the other hand, the proboscis of the 2), presumably feeding upon secretions that lubricate the Neotropical moth Azeta melanea is about the same size ocular area (tears). It was not possible to establish the of the insect (present paper), which presumably allow it degree of disturbance the moth might cause to the bird, as to exploit larger birds such as kingfis hers and to perch on this latter was on the alert due to the approaching observer. various parts of the head and neck of the bird host to feed on tears. Seeking salts and moisture, besides proteins, are among the possible explanations for erebids and other DISCUSSION tear-feeding moths to exploit vertebrate eyes, including those of birds (Bänziger 1990, Hilgartner et al. 2007, The present recor d of a Ringed Kingfisher with an Plotkin & Goddard 2013, present paper). Lachryphagy erebid moth feeding on its eye secretions seems to be probably evolved several times among Lepidoptera, since the first substantiated instance of a bir d exploited by a this habit is found in unrelated moth and butterfly groups lachryphagous moth in the Neotropics. To the best of my (Plotkin & Goddard 2013). knowledge, the previous and only published record of Birds exploited by tear-feeding moths may actually birds exploited by a tear-feeding moth are two Malagasy be a rare phenomenon, as these insects feed mostly on passerines, the sylviid warbler Newtonia brunneicauda the secretions and fluids of mammals (Bänziger 1972, and the thrush Copsychus albospecularis (Hilgartner et 1990, Büttiker et al. 1996, Plotkin & Goddard 2013). al. 2007). The main difference between the Malagasy If this holds true, it would partly explain the scarcity of and Neotropical records is that the Malagasy moth records of moths feeding on birds (Hilgartner et al. 2007, (Hemiceratoides hieroglyphica) was large relative to the present paper). On the other hand, this scarcity may be passerine birds, and perched on the bird’s upper side of due to lack of attention of professional biologist to this the neck and the back (Hilgartner et al. 2007). These phenomenon or, conversely, spotting a moth perched on authors related the position of the moth to its proboscis a night-roosting bird may be a difficult task in the field. size, which is about half the size of the insect (Hilgartner Nevertheless, I suppose that a careful checking of birds Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015 Save your tears: eye secretions of a Ringed Kingfisher fed upon b y an erebid moth Ivan Sazima Bänziger, H. 1990. Moths with a taste for tears. New Scientist, 128 at night roosts will reveal additional cases of Neotropical (1744): 48-51. bird species sought by tear-feeding moths. Burkett-Cadena, N.; Bingham, A. M.; Porterfield, C. & U nnasch, Understanding this peculiar relationship T. R. 2014. Innate preference or opportunism: mosquitoes feeding between birds and moths would certainly benefit from on birds of prey at the Southeastern Raptor Center. Journal of substantiated records made by amateur naturalists, Vector Ecolog y, 39(1): 21-31. Büttiker, W.; Krenn, H. W. & Putterill, J. F. 1996. The proboscis photographers, filmmakers, and citizen scientists. The role of eye-frequenting and piercing Lepidoptera (Insecta). citizen scientists may play in the expansion of knowledge Zoomorpholog y, 116(2): 77-83. about organisms and their interactions in nature, i.e. Griffing, S. M.; K ilpatrick, A. M.; Clark, L. & Marra, P. P. 2007. natural history, should be stimulated and supported by Mosquito landing rates on nesting American Robins (Turdus migratorius). Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 7(3): 437-443. professional biologists (see convincing argumentation in Hilgartner, R.; Raoilison, M.; Büttiker, W.; Lee, D. C. & Krenn, Tewksbury et al. 2014). H.W. 2007. Malagasy birds as hosts for eye-frequenting moths. Biology Letters, 3(2): 117-120. Lobato, D. N. C.; Antonini, Y.; Martins, R. P. & Azeredo, R. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 2007. Visita de abelhas a narinas de aves de rapina (Accipitridae e Strigidae): mutualismo facultativo? Anais do VIII Congresso de Ecologia do Brasil, Caxambu – MG: 1-2. I thank Dan Doucette for the permission to use his Plotkin, D. & Goddard, J. 2013. Blood, sweat, and tears: a review outstanding photos of a kingfisher exploited by a tear- of the hematophagous, sudophagous, and lachryphagous feeding moth, and additional information; Vitor O. Lepidoptera. Journal of Vector Ecolog y, 38(2): 289-294. Sazima, I. 2015. Bee in the nose: raptors let or let not stingless bees Becker for the moth identification; André Victor Lucci enter their nostrils. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(3): 323- Freitas for helping with the moth identification; Marlies Sazima for reading the final draft and loving support. Tewksbury, J. J.; Anderson, J. G. T.; Bakker, J. D.; Billo, T. J.; Dunwiddie, P. W.; Groom, M. J.; Hampton, S. E.; Herman, S. G.; Levey, D. J.; Machnicki, N. J.; Del Rio, C. M.; Power, M. E.; Rowell, K.; Salomon, A. K.; Stacey, L.; Trombulak, S. REFERENCES C. & Wheeler, T. A. 2014. Natural history’s place in science and society. BioScience, 64(4): 300-310. Bänziger, H. 1972. Biologie der lacriphagen Lepidopteren in Thailand und M alaya (summary). Ph.D. Dissertation. Zürich: Associated Editor: Cristiano Schetini de Azevedo Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015
Ornithology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2015
Keywords: Megaceryle torquata; lachryphagy; Erebidae; Colombia; Neotropics
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