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

The competition requires 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, running from April to August each year. Teams compete against each other to win some exciting prizes (kindly donated by our sponsors, NHBS) in four different categories; the number of species recorded, number of individual moths caught, number of people taking part in a single trapping/surveying event and number of surveying sessions held over the competition period.

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 40 years with three species becoming extinct since 2000. The State of Britain’s Larger Moths Report 2013 found that two-thirds of common and widespread larger species (macro-moths) declined in the last 40 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.

2019 Winners

We are delighted to announce that the 2019 University Moth Challenge Champions are Lancaster University, winning in all four categories in an impressive clean sweep! The 'Lancaster Lepidopterists' recorded 469 different species over 76 surveying events. Congratulations to them and all of the other competing teams. 

How do I take part?

If you would like to take part in the 2020 University Moth Challenge then please:

  1. Download and read through the UMOC Challenge Pack for all the details (we will update this for 2020 soon)
  2. Email umoc@butterfly-conservation.org to register your interest
  3. Dowload the Moth Recorder's Handbook for guidance and tips on moth trapping and other ways to survey

When the competition opens we will be in touch with further details.

We hope to hear from you!