Guest blog written by Robin Griffiths, June 2022

As is now well known, insects are generally declining in number throughout the UK and Europe and it is as important to monitor them as it is birds, mammals and all other groups. Lepidoptera are perhaps the most conspicuous and (relatively) “easy” group of insects to deal with as there are very few butterfly species, and much help is available these days for the more varied and difficult moths.

Many good books are available for lepidoptera, as well as websites and Facebook pages – whatever one’s opinion of the latter it is undoubtedly true that one of the best and quickest ways to get an identification is by posting a photograph of your moth or butterfly on a Facebook page – it will usually be identified quite quickly. Some essential pages for Wiltshire lepidopterists are listed below.

When you have identified your species what to do next? The important thing is to record your findings, so they are not lost to science! By following the advice below not only will your records be preserved, but if there are any uncertain or doubtful sightings (we all have them!) the County Recorders will help you to get a correct identification.

For butterflies, it is necessary to send all sightings to the county recorder, Mike Fuller. The easiest way to do this is to use the Wilts Butterfly Conservation website to record your sightings. Mike sees all these posts and actually responds personally, pretty unique in my experience. You can also record a limited number of day-flying moths on this as well.

For all moths the best way to record is to use the excellent, Wiltshire based, spreadsheet (there are internet apps you can use such as iRecord but the spreadsheet is preferred.) This is at 2022-Wiltshire-Moth-Records-Your-Name.xlsx - Microsoft Excel Online (live.com)

Fill the spreadsheet in as you record through the year then send it to the county moth recorder Wayne Clinch at [email protected] as soon after the end of the year (or when you stop mothing!) as possible.

The complete moth package from Wayne Clinch is at Public - OneDrive (live.com) This is extremely helpful and if used, it will mean Wayne, who has a huge task dealing with the thousands of moth records, will have less checking and corresponding to do.

Useful blogs:

Wiltshire Butterfly Conservation (wiltshire-butterflies.org.uk)

Wiltshire Macro-moth List | Butterfly Conservation (butterfly-conservation.org)

UKMoths | Guide to the moths of Great Britain and Ireland

Hants Moths - Flying Tonight

Useful Facebook pages:

(20+) Wiltshire Moths and Butterflies | Facebook

(20+) UK Micro Moth Identification | Facebook

(20+) Garden Moth Scheme | Facebook

(20+) Pugs In Flight Tonight | Facebook

(20+) Caterpillars UK | Facebook

Discover our Action For Insects project

More help on recording wildlife sightings