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, but 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.  More recent information on macro-moths (updated to 2018) can be found in the Provisional Atlas of the Larger Moths of Dorset (Les Evans-Hill, 2021) - see link below.

Atlas of Larger Moths of Dorset cover Copyright: Les Evans-Hill (2021) *NEW* PROVISIONAL ATLAS OF THE LARGER MOTHS OF DORSET

Les Evans-Hill, Dorset VC9 County Moth Recorder for Macros 2011-2016 has compiled a provisional Atlas showing the distribution, status, flight times and other information for macro-moths recorded in the County.  Maps are presented in a consistent format to the Atlas of Britain and Ireland's Larger Moths.

Details of how to download the Atlas free of charge can be found here.

Huge thanks to Les for all of the work that he has put into preparing the Provisional Atlas, and for making it available to Dorset moth recorders.


22 December 2020: Many thanks to all of you who have submitted your 2020 records.  We currently have over 61,000 records in the system, so (for all of its problems) 2020 is looking to be a bumper year for Dorset moth recording.  If you haven't yet submitted your records then please do so - they will be very welcome.  Records submitted by 31 January 2021 will be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Annual Report.  If you miss this deadline then don't worry - your records will still be verified and passed on to Butterfly Conservation's National Moth Recording Scheme.

Update - 18 January 2021: almost 73,000 records from 2020 have now been received. Please keep them coming!

Details of how to submit records can be found further down this page.

E-MOTH NEWSLETTER - November 2020

17 December 2020: A link to the latest E-moth newsletter from Butterfly Conservation (featuring our very own Phil Sterling) is here.


12 August 2020: Catch up with Dorset's moth news for July 2020 in the latest edition of the Dorset Moths E-Newsletter.  Features include July's highlights and an item on dusking for rare Tineids by Phil Sterling.

1497 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla 01 Copyright: Tom Morris PLUME MOTH SPECIES ACCOUNTS ADDED TO WEBSITE

4 August 2020: Peter Davey has written 31 new species accounts for the Plume Moths of Dorset.  These have been added to the appropriate pages of this website.  Many thanks to Peter and to Phil Sterling and Mark Parsons for their input to the text. 

[Please note that the new accounts incorporate recent changes in species nomenclature; unfortunately these cannot be updated on the main framework of the website's species accounts.]


1 August 2020: We know that a number of Dorset recorders prefer to submit their records on spreadsheets.  With huge thanks to Phil Dean and the Devon Moth Group team, we are pleased to be able to provide a link to the Devon Moth Group's website link, from which the excellent Devon Moth Lookup Table (DMLT), which includes a user guide, can be downloaded.  This can now be used to submit Dorset moth records to our email address (scroll down for more details about how to submit records).


18 May 2020: Following on from the publication of the 2019 Annual Report, Les Evans-Hill (Dorset macro-moth county moth recorder 2010-2016) has produced summary macro-moth reports for the seven years running from 2010 to 2016.  We are indebted to Les for his work during this period.

19 May 2020: Revised versions uploaded with added weather data.

19 June 2020: Further revised versions uploaded to website.  Les Evans-Hill comments: "Due to errors in the MapMate database queries used to prepare the original reports, some data in those reports were subsequently found to be inaccurate. These errors have been rectified, new reports generated and are presented here. Apologies for any inconvenience.”

The reports can be found at the new Annual Reports page on this website - link here.

DORSET MOTHS (VC9) ANNUAL REPORT 2019 Annual Report 2019 Front Cover Copyright: Mike Hetherington

6 May 2020: The verification team is pleased to announce the publication of the Dorset Moths (VC9) Annual Report for 2019 (online only). A pdf version of the document (918 kB) can be downloaded here.

The Report contains the year's highlights and lists significant macro and micro-moth records for the vice-county. Migrant moth highlights are also included, as well as overall recording statistics and a number of other articles.

The verification team would like to express its thanks to all of the recorders, both resident and visiting, who have submitted their Dorset moth records for 2019 - many of which are featured in the Report. 

Moth recording and Coronavirus Covid-19 - UPDATED ADVICE 14 May 2020

Please see this advice to moth recorders from Butterfly Conservation.

Recording and Verifying Dorset Moths

Dorset moth records are now verified by a group of volunteers.  Dr Phil Sterling leads as the 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.


Saoirse Pottie, PhD student from Royal Holloway, University of London is looking for moth recorders to help with two research projects. The first requires information on sightings of box moth and the second is looking for new and historical usage of pheromone lures - further information is detailed below. 

The first project is looking at the distribution of the three different colour morphs of the box moth in the UK. Variations in colour can be associated with habitat, disease resistance, susceptibility to insecticides, reproductive success and predator avoidance. I am interested in understanding if the distribution of these morphs in linked to its establishment. The survey is asking you to date and record the number of each morph you sight. If possible, information on the sex of each morph would also be very valuable. Any historic photographs or information would be a bonus!

Box moth survey: https://arcg.is/1n0Tq50 link

Box moth survey guide: https://mothphd.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/morphing_moths-_guide-1.pdf link

The second project is looking at establishing the distribution and usage of pheromone lures in the UK. Pheromone trapping has the potential to shed light on species under-recorded by other trapping methods and could prove a valuable tool for conservation. The survey will help to quantify the value of pheromone lures and better understand the species true distribution. The data can be used to help predict other locations where the species may be present. Any additional information on how often these locations have been visited and other unsuccessful locations tested would greatly improve the accuracy of these predictions.

If you have ever put out a pheromone lure (successful or not), please follow the link below to fill in the quick survey and help us understand how pheromones are used across the UK.

Pheromone survey: https://arcg.is/1a1GWi link

Thank you in advance for taking part or sharing these surveys. If you would like any more information or have any questions, you can get in touch directly at .

1409a Box-tree Moth 01 morphs Copyright: Saoirse Pottie

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) here link

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

NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE: 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.

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.

2382 Rustic 01 Copyright: Tom Morris 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 25 January 2021