Dorset Moth Status

It is vitally important Dorset moth records are verified beyond reasonable doubt. Everyone makes mistakes; moths can be difficult to identify and errors can occur when transcribing from notebooks.

Grading of species is necessary to help recorders and County Moth Recorders make an informed decision about the status of species in Dorset and how to apply verification. The higher the grade, the more likely the species is liable to be queried by the County Moth Recorders, please do not be offended if a record is queried.

Where records are likely to be queried and evidence is required, the order of preference is:

  • A voucher specimen - this is tangible evidence of capture.
  • A good quality photograph or series of, clearly showing at least the species’ published distinguishing features and a reference to size.

It is recognised that not all recorders are happy with the taking of voucher specimens to produce as evidence in order to verify a record and would much rather produce a photograph instead. However, a photograph, irrespective of the quality of the image and skill of the photographer, in some instances regretfully cannot be used as evidence.

Grade 1
Species easily identified even by inexperienced recorders with the use of up-to-date field guides. Such records would normally be accepted without the need for additional substantive evidence. Records well outside of the normal flight period or geographical range of a species are likely to be queried.

Grade 2
Species where care is needed for identification or are uncommon in Dorset. Should not present any difficulty for experienced recorders; however, inexperienced recorders may be expected to provide additional substantive evidence. Experienced recorders may be expected to provide additional substantive evidence, particularly if the record is outside of the normal flight period or geographical range of a species. Photographs in most instances are acceptable.

Grade 3
Species that are critical or difficult to identify which are likely to be confused with other species. Records from inexperienced recorders will be queried. Experienced recorders may be expected to provide additional substantive evidence, particularly if the record is outside of the normal flight period or geographical range of a species. Photographs in some instances will be unacceptable.

Grade 4
Species that are scarce or rare, haven't been recorded in Dorset for at least 10 years or can only be identified following critical assessment, often involving dissection and examination of genitalia. Experienced recorders may be expected to provide additional substantive evidence. Photographs in some instances will be unacceptable.

Grade G
*Genitalia examination is mandatory to exclude related species where external characters are indistinguishable. Photographs are unacceptable.

*Genitalia examination is a useful diagnostic tool used by County Moth Recorders and some recorders. We fully respect some recorders disagree with killing moths in order to dissect and name them. For these species, if dissection is not an option, these species should be aggregated. Refer to Aggregate Species.

New 10km square records
Records purporting to a new 10km square in Dorset may require additional substantive evidence.

Visit the original Dorset Moth Status link page to view a copy of the original Dorset Moths Status (macro-moths only). Species in Red will be generally be queried; species in Amber may be queried; species in Black are generally accepted.


Last updated 24 June 2014