moths miss the beat

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For the winter moth (Operophtera brumata), timing is everything.

If it hatches too early, there are no oak leaves to eat. Too late, and the leaves are tough and indigestible. Now this delicate rhythm has become a casualty of climate change, a new study finds.

Similar effects on finely tuned ecological relationships — such as that between bees and flowers — will be a major consequence of global warming, believes Marcel Visser, of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, co-author of the study.

“If people look for these effects, I think they’ll find them everywhere,” he says.

nature, 7 Feb 2001