Moths are the sibling group of the butterflies that outnumber their charismatic counterpart in species richness by about 10 times. There is a staggering diversity (ca. 160,000 species) within moths, be it in their sizes, colours, shapes and habits; and yet we know very little about these little marvels of evolution because of their mostly nocturnal habits and shy, less flashy nature. Begun in 2011 and celebrated every July, National Moth Week (NMW) is an annual, global citizen science initiative whose aim is to spread awareness and interest on one of the most diverse and yet little known group of animals.
The Nilgiri Natural History Society (NNHS) based in Ooty, along with Keystone Foundation in Kotagiri, organized an evening with the moths for the second consecutive year. Moth Night 2015 was organized on July 25, 2015 at The Nature Interpretation Centre, Longwood Shola in Kotagiri. The event was a success with around a dozen participants in attendance, who were quite keen on knowing more about the denizens of the night. The weather, in its contribution, was not the best for watching moths but still, we could observe a number of species from families such as Geometridae, Eupterotidae, Tineidae, etc., including a newly emerged adult moth in the process of expanding its wings.
A week before, we visited Kotagiri Public School in Kotagiri, the goal of the visit being to get the word out regarding lesser known groups such as the moths. The short talk received a positive response/feedback and managed to kindle interest in the children. We hope to reach out to more educational institutions which will both spread awareness about the biodiversity around us as well as help us in documenting the moths and other lesser known fauna found in our very own backyards.