Dorset in UK mapThe purpose of Dorset Moths is to bring together all those interested in moths in Dorset, and to promote the importance of moths as an indicator of biodiversity and habitat health.

Dorset is fortunate in having diverse unspoilt habitat, and a fine list of resident moth species; also being on the central South coast it is well placed for immigrants, irruptive and pioneering new species for Britain.  Some of the coastal headlands are magnets for moths and trappers alike, with a small but hardy number of resident moth-trappers spread throughout the County.  See here for information on the County.

Please note that the summary data and record details presented on the Species Accounts pages of this website are correct to 2011, and have not been updated with more recent records. The status and distribution of some Dorset moth species have changed significantly since that date and a number of new arrivals have been added to the County list. The best way to present up-to-date data for the County is currently under discussion.

Pug ID Workshop - Saturday 25 April 2020 - POSTPONED

Please note: this workshop has been postponed until Autumn 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Participants have been informed.

In the light of interest expressed at last October's meeting, a Pug ID workshop is being arranged for Dorset moth recorders.  This will take place on Saturday 25 April 2020 in West Bexington and will be led by Dr Phil Sterling.  Adrian Bicker will also be available to answer queries about Living Record.  Timings will be finalised in due course.  Numbers are limited, and we will operate on a first come, first served basis.  If you are interested in attending then please let us know by emailing . Please note: this workshop is now fully booked.

Call for 2019 Dorset Moth Records

Many thanks to all of you who responded to our call for 2019 records. We now have almost 44,500 records from 2019 in the system. Work is underway to verify these. Verified records will be submitted to Butterfly Conservation's National Moth Recording Schemes. It is also intended to produce a short annual report/newsletter.

If you haven't got round to submitting your 2019 records then don't worry.  We will always accept additional records.  See further down this page for details of how to submit records.

Dorset Moths Autumn Meeting 2019

The Autumn Meeting 2019 was held at Tolpuddle Village Hall on Saturday 12 October 2019.  Some 40 local moth recorders attended and heard the following presentations:

  • Verification Team update (Mike Hetherington (slides here) & Alison Stewart DERC (slides here))
  • The Undiscovered Undercliff (Paul Butter) - slides here and speaking notes here
  • Moths of Poole Harbour (Chris Thain & Abby Gibbs)
  • Moth Research in Goricko Nature Park, Slovenia (Peter Davey)
  • Weymouth Relief Road Verges (Phil Sterling) - slides here and see Phil's 2019 update here
  • Using Living Record (Adrian Bicker)

A discussion about future directions for the Dorset Moth Group reached the following conclusions:

  • A preference to keep the Group informal.
  • A wish for some field meetings to be organised under the public liability insurance of another organisation.
  • The production of an annual report and/or electronic newsletter.
  • The organisation of an early Spring meeting.  Suggested topics were: pug identification and a Living Record teach-in session.

Many thanks to all who organised and attended the event – and special thanks to Phil Sterling who chaired the meeting and Julian Francis who arranged the venue and the excellent refreshments.

Tolpuddle Autumn Meeting 12.10.19 (1) Copyright: Mike Hetherington Tolpuddle Autumn Meeting 12.10.19 (2) Copyright: Mike Hetherington

NEW: An archive of past Dorset Moth Group newsletters has been added to this website - see the Newsletters page.  At present this includes newsletters from 1994 to 2006 (added January 2020), containing a wealth of information about the early days of Dorset moth recording and including some fascinating articles.  More will be added in due course.

Recording and Verifying Dorset Moths

As many of you will know, Les Evans-Hill stood down as County Moth Recorder at the end of 2016 and we thank him for all his hard work in verifying the Dorset Moths database. Dr Phil Sterling has taken over the role of County Micro-moth Recorder, while the role of Macro-moth recorder is being shared by a verification team co-ordinated by the Dorset Environmental Records Centre (DERC) comprising: Adrian Bicker, Terry Box, Paul Butter, Peter Forrest, Julian Francis, Mike Hetherington, Tom Morris, Jack Oughton and Phil Sterling.

The best way to submit records is through Living Record www.livingrecord.net, which is the website that the verification team are using to review the records.  However, all records are welcomed (spreadsheets for preference): these can be sent to .  General queries about the recording arrangements can also be sent to that address.  Guidance on how to format spreadsheets for submission to Dorset Moths can be found here.  Advice on how to treat aggregate species when submitting records by spreadsheet or Living Record can be found here.

The Dorset Moths website and Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/dorsetmoths/ link are active for postings of latest sightings and moth-related chat.

Update to Privacy Policy

The first paragraph of the Dorset Moths privacy policy (see here) has been updated to ensure that the policy also applies to other personal information collected by Dorset Moths such as by email and at public meetings.

2006 Lesser Swallow Prominent 02 Copyright: Terry Box, 04 Apr 2004 The success of the National Moth Recording Scheme mapping the macro-moths has generated interest in mapping all moths within the County, including the micro-moths for the first time, here.  It should be acknowledged that the maps and species accounts are provisional, incomplete, in some case unverified, and only take into account records that have been submitted to the County Moth Recorders. Some of the older records dates and sites are a bit vague, sometimes just a year and a 10km square. It is hoped that having this resource available will stimulate some recorders to send in their records for the first time, and that past records are captured too.  Peter Davey’s excellent macro-moth accounts are already included, and new information will be added in due course.  This is very much a work-in-progress, and the summaries are still being updated to reflect the content. 

See Moth Recording for information on submitting records, and Dorset Moth Status for a list of species.  The Species Accounts brings together status, distribution, phenology, photos and general information on each species, and by registering and logging on you have the ability to click on dots on the map to get individual record detail.

When faced with an unidentified moth, try Common Species for details on the 25 most common species recorded in this week, with photos and links to the Species Accounts.  There is an option to see a list of all species recorded in this week too.

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Last updated 21 March 2020