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"From freeze with moths": first discovery of a habitat in Andean Salars for noctuid moths

DOI: 10.1590/S1519-566X2006000400020

Keywords: lepidoptera, noctuidae, new extreme habitat, antofagasta, chile.

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Abstract:

noctuid moths flutter in the high andes nights at 4,000 m. s. n. m. their larvae feed on aerial or underground parts of succulent plants. many of these species are new to science. strategies and adaptations of the moths for survival in the high andes mountains are: a circulatory system that includes an abdominal thoracic countercurrent heat exchanger, and they are insulated from the environment by a coat of dense hair like scales. recently, during january and july 2004, in the northern desert of chile, called salar de punta negra, under the salt crust we found a large number of pupae and larvae that correspond to three new species of noctuid moth - this pupation site is located in a 10 m wide area surrounding a water body; the mean observed density is 13 to 15 pupae per 100 cm2. this is a new extreme habitat conquered by noctuid moths.

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