Uni moths

What is University Moth Challenge?

University Moth Challenge (UMOC) is a joint initiative by the UK’s youth nature network A Focus on Nature (AFoN) and Butterfly Conservation. Together our aims are:

  • To encourage more biological recording at University
  • To encourage more young people to take an active interest in moths
  • To give young people valuable biological recording and identification skills
  • To link young people and Universities with the National Moth Recording Scheme

We are inviting students studying in colleges and universities across the UK to form a team and use a range of survey and trapping techniques to discover moths on their campus and beyond. To make things more interesting, we have set this up as a competition. Teams compete against each other to win some exciting prizes in the following categories:

  • Number of species caught
  • Number of individual moths caught
  • Number of trapping sessions held
  • Best photo from the trap (or can feature the trappers!)

University Moth Challenge is designed to give students an opportunity to develop new skills and have fun in the process. But there is a real and pressing conservation side to this too. The abundance of the UK’s larger moths has crashed during the past 50 years with three species becoming extinct since 2000. The State of Britain’s Larger Moths Report 2021 found that approximately 40% of common and widespread larger species (macro-moths) declined in the last 50 years. By taking part in the scheme we hope to hook many students into the fascinating world of moths and moth recording so that we can continue to collect the data we need to conserve them.

2021 Winners

In 2021 University Moth Challenge Champions were the aptly named UEA Highflyers! The team from the University of East Anglia clocked up an impressive tally of 551 species, beating previous record holders Lancaster University.  The team from Royal Holloway snapped up a runners-up prize for the most trapping sessions held and the best photo category was won by the Hartpury Hawk-moths from Hartpury University. Well done everyone! But who will triumph in 2022...

How do I take part in 2022?

Our 2022 competition is now open for registration and officially starting on May 1st! The competition will run from May to September. Please download the Challenge Pack below for full details on how to take part. To register your team you will need to email the  UMoC coordinator at @email with the following information:

  • The Team Leader’s name and contact details
  • Your Team’s University/College
  • Your Team Name

You will then be sent a special code which will allow you to use a fantastic one-year free membership offer, plus details of our Facebook group and how to submit your records. We look forward to hearing from you soon!