Studies on lac insect (Kerria lacca) for conservation of biodiversity in Similipal Biosphere Reserve, Odisha, India
J. Mohanta, D. G. Dey, N. Mohanty
The lac insect, Kerria lacca Kerr (Coccoidea: Homoptera) is well known for its valuable resin. It thrives on host plants like Palas, Kusum and Ber. An attempt has been made to study culture of lac in non-conventional method of ultivation in peripheral and buffer zones of Similipal Biosphere Reserve (SBR) where farmers are practicing in a conventional way. The initial density of settlement of larva ranged between 92.58-126.74 no. /cm2 and 93.12-109.62 no. cm2 in Kusmi strain on Kusum and Ber trees, respectively. For Rangeeni strain it was 82.67-118.32 no. /cm2. The sex ratio (male: female) was found to be 1:3 for all the crops, strains and host plants. The range of resin output per cell as 17.00-21.40 mg for winter crop and 19.00-25.60 mg for summer crop of Kusmi strain on Kusum and Ber plants. For Rangeeni strain on Palas plant it was 05.30-11.20 mg for rainy crop and 18.72 -23.00 mg for summer crop. oreover, the temperature influenced the life cycle, life span and resin output of this insect. Pruning of trees meet the firewood requirement as fuel and also for household uses, also prevents deforestation and conserve the forest cosystem. Lac insect has some vertebrate predators like monkeys, squirrels, rats, lizards, woodpeckers, birds and insect predators are Lepidopterans (Eublemma amabilis, Pseudohypatopa pulverea) and Neuropterans (Chrysopa madestes, C. lacciperda). So directly or indirectly lac cultivation helps in conservation of biodiversity.