Launched in 2007, the National Moth Recording Scheme (NMRS) has already collated over 20 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: send the record to the appropriate County Moth Recorder or use the NMRS online recording system. 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.
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.
We are now working towards a full atlas of the larger moths in Britain and Ireland. This will be the first-ever complete atlas of Britain and Ireland's larger moths and will provide up-to-date distribution maps and species accounts of almost 900 species.
The Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths is due out in spring 2019, and a special pre-publication offer is now available from NatureBureau.