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Eumasia venefica

12th October, 2023 Environment

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  • Researchers have discovered a new species of bagworm moth, Wizard Bagworm, from near the Nariyampara Falls.


  • The new species has been named Eumasia venefica due to the peculiar shape of its bag, which resembles a wizard’s hat.
  • Most Psychidae moths are small-sized and characterized by a larval case building.
  • Eumasia venefica is the fourth species of this genus to be discovered from India.
  • 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, venefica is not a polyphagous pest as its larvae only feed on the algae and mosses on the rocks.


The Psychidae (bagworm moths, also simply bagworms or bagmoths) are a family of the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). The bagworm family is fairly small, with about 1,350 species described. Bagworm species are found globally.

Most bagworms are inoffensive to humans and inconspicuous; some are occasional nuisance pests.

Bagworm cases range in size from less than 1 cm to 15 cm among some tropical species.  


A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi species in a mutualistic relationship.

Like all fungi, lichen fungi require carbon as a food source; this is provided by their symbiotic algae and/or cyanobacteria, which are photosynthetic.

The lichen symbiosis is thought to be a mutualism, since both the fungi and the photosynthetic partners, called photobionts, benefit.

The algal partner photosynthesizes and provides food for the fungus, so it can grow and spread.

The dominant partner is the fungus, which gives the lichen the majority of its characteristics, from its thallus shape to its fruiting bodies. They provide a mode of survival in harsh environments where algae cannot normally survive.

Since the fungus can protect its algae, these normally water-requiring organisms can live in dry, sunny climates without dying, as long as there are occasional rain showers or flooding to let them recharge and store food for the next drought period. Because lichens enable algae to live all over the world in many different climates, they also provide a means to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through photosynthesis into oxygen, which we all need to survive.

Lichens are important actors in nutrient cycling and act as producers.

Lichens have properties different from those of their component organisms. They come in many colors, sizes, and forms and are sometimes plant-like, but are not plants.

They may have tiny, leafless branches (fruticose); flat leaf-like structures (foliose); grow crust-like, adhering tightly to a surface (substrate) like a thick coat of paint (crustose); have a powder-like appearance (leprose); or other growth forms.

 Lichens do not have roots that absorb water and nutrients as plants do, but like plants, they produce their own nutrition by photosynthesis.

When they grow on plants, they do not live as parasites, but instead use the plant's surface as a substrate.

Lichens occur from sea level to high alpine elevations, in many environmental conditions, and can grow on almost any surface.

They are abundant growing on bark, leaves, mosses, or other lichens and hanging from branches "living on thin air" (epiphytes) in rainforests and in temperate woodland. They grow on rock, walls, gravestones, roofs, exposed soil surfaces, rubber, bones, and in the soil as part of biological soil crusts.

It is estimated that 6–8% of Earth's land surface is covered by lichens.

 Some lichens have lost the ability to reproduce sexually, yet continue to speciate.

One of the ways lichens directly benefit humans is through their ability to absorb everything in their atmosphere, especially pollutants. Lichens can provide us with valuable information about the environment around us. Any heavy metals or carbon or sulfur or other pollutants in the atmosphere are absorbed into the lichen thallus. Scientists can extract these toxins and determine the levels that are present in our atmosphere.  


Nariampara Triple Water Falls is located approximately 4 kilometers from Kattappana in the Idukki district of Kerala. The waterfall is located in between spice estates.

Triple Waterfalls has three distinct, different types of waterfalls. In the second stage of the waterfalls, there is a cave from where the water falls from the top of this cave going into splashes. 


Mosses are small, non-vascular flowerless plants.

Moss is part of a plant family known as the Bryophytes.

Mosses, and their cousins liverworts and hornworts, are classified as Bryophyta (bryophytes) in the plant kingdom.

The species has existed for millions of years, making it a resilient, ancient plant.

They date back 450 million years, and have survived and thrived through a range of drastic climate changes.

Comprised of 15,000 – 25,000 species, they occur on every continent and in every ecosystem habitable by plants that use sunlight for energy.

Unlike most other plants, mosses don’t have roots.

Instead, they have rhizoids, which are small hairlike structures. Their main function is anchoring the plant to rock, bark or soil.

So, without roots, some moss suck nutrients up through the rhizoids and others draw in moisture and minerals from rain and the water around them through their highly absorbent surfaces.

Instead of producing seeds for reproduction, which is common for many plant species, they produce spores.

Moss can be found all over the world. The species has developed a certain resilience in the millions of years it has existed on this planet, therefore you can find it in all sorts of habitats, including:

  • Rainforests
  • Wetlands
  • Woodland forests
  • Alpine ecosystems
  • Gardens
  • Caves
  • Urban areas (driveways, walls and pavements) 

Ecological uses of mosses

1. Help in the fight against air pollution

Mosses can be effective indicators of c02 emissions that pollute the air. They can also signal if an ecosystem has been damaged or harmed by acid rain.

2. Prevent erosion

Mosses retain moisture, which means they effectively retain it. This helps to stabilise soil susceptible to being washed or blown away, and thus reduce erosion.

3. Indicate water pollution

Similar in the way they can help to indicate the presence of air pollution, mosses can do the same with water. They can also be used to treat wastewater thanks to their moisture retention capabilities.

4. Provide nitrogen for arctic ecosystems

This is a bit more of a niche use of the species, but mosses can help arctic and subarctic ecosystems by providing them with nitrogen. In temperate climates and regions, this is a role usually carried out by plants of the leguminous species.



Q. Which of the following are the ecological uses of Mosses?

1.    Help in the fight against air pollution.

2.    Prevent erosion.

3.    Indicate water pollution.

4.    Provide nitrogen for arctic ecosystems.

Choose the correct code.

A) 1,2 and 3 only

B) 1 and 3 only

C) All 4

D) None

Answer: C) All 4 


Q. Consider the following statements:

1.Lichens live as parasites, on plant's surface.

2.6–8% of Earth's land surface is covered by lichens.

3.Any heavy metals or carbon or sulfur or other pollutants in the atmosphere are absorbed into the lichen thallus.

How many of the above statements are incorrect?

A) Only 1

B) Only 2

C) All 3

D) None

Answer: A) Only 1

Lichens do not live as parasites, but instead use the plant's surface as a substrate. 


Q. Recently, Eumasia venefica was in the news. What is it?

1.       Psychidae moth

2.       A Conifer

3.       Moss

4.       Bryophyte

Choose the correct code.

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D


Option 1.Psychidae moth