This is an introductionary guide to recording moth and butterfly species in Wales and is aimed to encourage those who may be new or unfamiliar with this to begin to submit biological records. It focuses on species generally found in Wales.

To download, please click links below to the Wales Common Moths Record Form and the Wales Butterflies Record Form.

Why send in records?

Data about butterflies and moths is vital. It tells us which species are in decline and where to find them and so enables Butterfly Conservation to carry out our work. To be really useful it needs to include all the essential information for a biological record.

So what is a biological record?


The essential information to make up a record is:

  • the species seen
  • number seen
  • date seen
  • stage of life cycle (adult, caterpillar, pupa or egg)
  • Ordnance Survey grid reference (four or six figure)
  • Recorder’s name and contact details

Find out more about how to record species and work out grid references here (scroll to bottom of page).

Records are sent to County Butterfly Recorders and County Moth Recorders which feed into:

  • Butterfly Conservation's general recording scheme, known as Butterflies for the New Millennium or BNM. It covers all species of butterflies across the UK and is run in conjunction with the national Biological Records Centre (part of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology).
  • Butterfly Conservation’s  National Moth Recording Scheme which has already collected over one million moth records which are used to produce the Moth Atlas and to inform conservation activities.

How to collect and send in your Records

  • For a few sightings, or if you are not yet confident of your identification this is easy using the free iRecord Butterflies app on your phone, downloadable for  Apple or Android phones. It will help you identify the species, add the grid reference and send your record to Butterflies for the New Millennium.
  • You could use a field guide identification book

If you are confident in your identification, collect your data into a form including the species seen, number seen, date seen, grid reference and stage of life cycle (adult, caterpillar, pupa or egg) and the recorder’s name.

Downloadable forms to use: Links to the Wales Butterfly Recording Form and Wales Common Moth Species Recording form can be found below.

They contain drop down lists of all but the species that are uncommon in Wales and exclude most micro moths, so they are less cumbersome to use. If you identify a species not listed on the above forms please create your own record list in the same format.

Please include photos when possible.

Send your forms at least once a year

to the County Butterfly Recorder and County Moth Recorder for your local area as appropriate.  In some areas this will be the same person, in other areas there are separate County Recorders for moths and butterflies.

If you have records from more than one Vice County please send separate forms to the relevant County Recorders.



This page focuses on the collection of casual records i.e. those not gathered as part of a formal systematic survey by more experienced recorders. The Excel Record Forms contain lists of the species known to be found in Wales but exclude those rarely seen as well as excluding most micro moths. This is because the aim is to make the forms easy to use with lists of managable length. The forms have drop-down lists of all the more common species in Wales and feature the vernacular species names, enabling easy data entry and consistant spelling of names. Scientific names can be added optionally, if known. Separate forms for butterflies and moths enable each to be sent to the relevant County Recorder, as these are often different people.

Wales butterflies record form
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Wales common moths record form
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