Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biology

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Westerman, Erica

Committee Member/Reader

Willson, J.D.

Committee Member/Second Reader

Robinson, Samantha

Committee Member/Third Reader

Westerman, Erica

Committee Member/Fourth Reader

Thomas, Johanna


Insects have an essential role in nature, largely in part to pollination. These animals allow for many plants to reproduce and are directly involved in many of the earth’s fruit and vegetable supply. Bees, along with many other diurnal pollinators have gained the attention of the public, which has sparked debates and change to protect them. Many nocturnal species have previously been disregarded due to the assumption that diurnal pollinators provide the only significant pollinations, although recent studies show otherwise. For example, a recent study in apples suggests that nocturnal insects increase fruit production and flower cluster pollination at comparable levels to diurnal pollinators. However, the specific species were unknown. I worked with Dr. Erica Westerman to identify different species of nocturnal pollinators of apple blossoms during different times at night. I helped capture the insects in April of 2022 via light traps set up through the entirety of the night. The traps were emptied, and the insects were collected every few hours. I also had access to insects caught in the spring of 2021. Then, I categorized the insects into groups of interest and identified these insects into the lowest taxonomic group possible. I then used the R programming software to analyze the abundance of different types of insects present to determine which insects were most prevalent in the orchard, and at what time of night. A vast majority of the insects collected were craneflies. In addition, the time of night did not impact the specific insects collected, but the temperature did. This study highlights the species of insects that visit the orchard during the blooming season. Further tests may be required to identify which of these are significant pollinators.


nocturnal pollinator, identification, moth, craneflies, apple, Arkansas

Available for download on Friday, May 02, 2025