Peach Blossom - Samantha Batty

Launched in 2007, the National Moth Recording Scheme (NMRS) has already collated over 27 million current and historical sightings (records) of all macro-moths (larger moths) across the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It is hoped that, in time, full 'Britain and Ireland' distributions will be available for all species.

The new scheme covers some 900 species, with thousands of active recorders, and the enormous dataset of distribution records that is has generated is benefiting nature conservation, public understanding and ecological research.

How to take part

Taking part in the National Moth Recording Scheme is simple and everyone is welcome. Any larger (macro-) moth that you see, whether you are moth trapping on a Scottish mountain or relaxing in your garden, can be recorded and submitted to form part of this important scheme.

  • Step 1: spot and identify your moth.
  • Step 2: write down the essential details to make a record.
  • Step 3: submit the record. You can send your records to the appropriate County Moth Recorder. Alternatively, we are currently developing a new online recording system for the NMRS. This will be available in late spring 2021 and details will appear on this page. In either case, County Moth Recorders may contact you to check aspects of the record, for example, if it is of an unusual species.

If you have lots of sightings then it is advisable to check with your County Moth Recorder about the best way to submit your records.

Poplar Hawk-moth - Iain Leach

A similar scheme ran from 1967 to 1982 (organised by the Biological Records Centre) and this provides important historical data about moth distributions, against which we can assess change.

The creation of the new NMRS came at a very opportune time. Moth recording has never been more popular and the number of recorders is growing rapidly in many areas. As a consequence, recording coverage is increasing, making it possible to achieve realistic assessments of species distribution at the national scale over a period of years. At the same time, the conservation need for such data has never been more pressing.

The NMRS is open to all and anyone can help record moths. Many macro-moths are active or easily disturbed during the day, and records of these are just as important as nocturnal species. Please send the details of your sightings (species, date, number seen, place and grid reference) to the appropriate County Moth Recorder, so that they can form part of the NMRS. Alternatively, you can submit your sightings via the NMRS online recording system. Such records will be passed on to County Moth Recorders.

Moth Atlas

The Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths is now available from NatureBureau.


Additions to the British and Irish list of moths from 2000 onwards

The associated spreadsheet lists those species that have been added to the British and Irish list of moths from 2000 onwards.

Additions to the British and Irish list of moths from 2000 onwards - Spreadsheet
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet 29.82 KB

Technical information for County Moth Recorders

The following technical documents provide information for County Moth Recorders on submitting county datasets of moth records to the NMRS:

Guidance for County Moth Recorders - Recorder 6 Exchange to the NMRS v1.0.0

Guidance for County Moth Recorders - MapMate Sync to the NMRS v2.0.4

Guidance for County Moth Recorders - Spreadsheet Data Submission to the NMRS v2.0.1