Frequently Asked Questions:

Who should I send my moth records to?

All moth records are managed by the County Moth Recorder.  Electronic records (e.g. Excel spreadsheets) can be sent by email direct to the county moth recorder.  Hand-written records should be sent to DGERC who will pass on all records direct to the county recorder.

What happens to the records?

Records are entered onto a computer system which is continually updated.  The County Recorder will verify all records and contact recorders if there are any queries about individual records.  Please do not take these queries as an insult. Data verification is very important to maintain an accurate record of the regions moths for future use of the data.  Where records are new to the region or are new to Scotland a specimen or good quality photo showing the relevant identification features should be made available. 

All records are entered onto a computer database which is maintained by the County Moth Recorder.  A copy of all local records is sent annually to the National Moth Recording Scheme. All records are also shared with the DGERC, the local records centre for the region, and made available for local decision making. 

What if I am uncertain about identifying a particular moth?

If you are unsure about the identification of a particular moth you should try to retain the specimen and get this confirmed by a more experienced recorder.  Moths can be retained alive in a pot in the refrigerator for several days allowing a second opinion to be gained.  Nonetheless some badly-worn specimens towards the end of their flight season can be particularly difficult to identify. 

With ever-improving technology, digital photos can often substitute for a live specimen.  Photos can be sent to the county moth recorder or direct to DGERC.  Alternatively there are numerous online groups and forums on which you can post photos and ask for help with identification.  The Scottish Moths Yahoo! group is watched by many national experts and is an excellent place to learn about what is being seen in other parts of Scotland.  Locally, the DGERC wildlife recording Yahoo! group is open to anyone to discuss wildlife recording issues in Dumfries and Galloway and members will happily help to identify mystery moths. 

It is worth noting that that not all species can be easily identified.  These 'critical species' should be examined very carefully and most modern guidebooks give information about these.  An example would be the pug moths, which are very tricky and new recorders should seek advice from other experienced recorders until they become more familiar with them.  Some species cannot  currently be identified accurately from their markings alone.  This includes a number of species often found in gardens, and positive identification of these can only be achieved at the larval stages or through dissection and examination of the genitalia under a microscope. A list of the local species that fall into this category is as follows:

 Record as
 The Ear/Crinan Ear/Large Ear/Saltern Ear Amphipoea agg.
 Common Rustic/Lesser Common Rustic  Mesapamea agg.
 Grey Dagger/Dark Dagger Acronicta agg.
 November Moth/Pale November Moth/Autumnal Moth/Small Autumnal Moth Epirrita agg.
 The Rustic/The Uncertain Hoplodrina agg.
 Marbled Minor/Rufous Minor/Tawny Marbled Minor Oligia agg.
 Square-spot Dart/White-line Dart/Coast Dart Euxoa agg.

If you wish to kill a moth to retain as a specimen, a simple and humane way to do this is to place it in a pot in the freezer.

Why are my records not showing on the species maps?

The species maps use data derived from the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Gateway.  These are updated periodically when the local dataset is sent to the national recording scheme.  This may take a year or more.  If you have submitted your records to the County Moth Recorder they will be added to the local database and will eventually appear on the online maps, but please be patient in the mean time!