Recording a moth in Cheshire

Much of the moth recording in Cheshire is undertaken by members of the Cheshire and Peak District Branch of Butterfly Conservation. Almost all of these recorders are also members of the Cheshire Moth Group. Using a computer based database, we are collating records and sharing data across the county to ensure that everyone is kept informed and knows that their records really count.

What is the Cheshire Moth Group?

The moth group started life as an informal grouping of individuals interested in recording moths within Cheshire. The group was founded in 2000 and aimed to keep "moth'ers" in the county in touch with each other. A newsletter is produced on a regular basis and advertises moth events going on within the county. All events are open for everyone to attend - its more fun (and much safer) having like minded people along than sitting in a cold, dark wood all by yourself! Members whether experienced or not are always welcome to join any of the events that we organise.

Recently, the group has expanded in both its membership and in its aims. Work is now underway on the production of an atlas of the lepidoptera of Cheshire (VC58). This is an ambitious project and the next few years will require an enormous amount of field work. We will be out and about as much as possible so why not join us!

How to record

VC58 has a long history of entomological recording. However, there is still a lot we don't know and hence there's lots of useful field work you can do. Records from back gardens, local nature reserves, and even well known sites are all welcome. Guidelines on the submission of records are available.

In order to ensure the accuracy and validity of Cheshire Moth records it is suggested that we should all use the following protocols where possible. However, if recorders have insufficient time to comply with these requests please send in your records any way. We would rather receive a simple species list for a given year at a given site than no data at all.

The four essential items that are requested for all submitted moth records are:

  1. The name of the species recorded. Scientific names are acceptable for all species. Common/English names may be used for the macro-lepidoptera. Common/English names for most micro-lepidoptera are not commonly used so it is preferred if these are avoided.
  2. The date on which the species was recorded. For light trap records the date should refer to the night on which the trap was turned on. (e.g. a trap is run overnight from the 19th-20th October. All records should be submitted as referring to the 19th).
  3. The name of the recorder and contact details (e.g. address, telephone number, e-mail address)
  4. The grid reference at which the record was made (at least 4 figure, preferably 6 figure) along with a site name. Ordnance Survey maps give instructions on how to work out grid references. For daylight observations a 4 figure reference may be more logical. For fixed survey positions (such as light traps) a 6 figure reference is preferred.
    This information will enable us to plot distribution maps for species, establish flight periods and to check back with the recorder if there are any queries regarding the record.

Other information is also very useful and should be supplied if possible:

  1. The stage of the insect (e.g. larva, adult, pupae or ova)
  2. The method used (e.g. MV trap, actinic trap, sugar, leaf mine, searching etc.).
  3. Numbers of each species recorded .
  4. Who determined the species identification if different to the recorder.
  5. For certain species requiring examination of the genitalia observers should indicate if this was performed and by whom.
  6. A habitat description of the site recorded .

Note: much of this information only needs to be submitted once. Once we have the details of a recorder and site in the database, subsequent records from the same site need not repeat the information, unless any details have changed.
Submitted records in the form of species lists for sites and dates are simpler to enter into the computer than lists of sites and dates for individual species. It also helps data entry if the species lists are sorted alphabetically or by Bradley & Fletcher number.

Some records will require verification by the Cheshire Moth Panel. All species have been assigned a category and full details of there meaning is available here.

A new recording form has been prepared to simplify the task of recording macro species.