Moth recording is the foundation of much of the knowledge about the status and distribution of the UK's moths.  Making records of sightings contributes directly to the scientific understanding and conservation of moths.

If you are new to moth recording then the National Moth Recording Scheme section of the Moths Count website provides valuable information on all aspects of moth recording.

Sending in records

Moth records should be submitted to the County Moth Recorder.  All records should carry at least the four minimum pieces of information required for all biological records


The name of the species recorded. Scientific names are acceptable for all species as well common names for the macro-lepidoptera. Common names for most micro-lepidoptera are not commonly used so it is preferred if these are avoided.


The date on which the record was made, this may be a precise date e.g. 3rd June 2010 or just a year e.g. 2005. Precise dates are more useful as this allows better understanding of flight times.


The grid reference at which the record was made (at least 4 figure, preferably 6 figure) along with a site name


The name of the person who recorded the moth(s) and contact details.  If someone else identified the moth(s) then the name of the determiner should also be provided.

In addition there are many more useful pieces of information that can be provided such as the sex (male/female), stage (e.g. adult, egg, caterpillar), method used to record the species (e.g. type of trap and light source), abundance (how many were seen/caught) and any other comments about the record.

Electronic records

Records that are typed up on a suitable spreadsheet are easily transferred to the central database. A template spreadsheet in Excel format download is available to download below.

Moth recording spreadsheet

The spreadsheet allows you to enter records in a format suitable for submitting to the County Moth Recorder. It includes lookups of species names and checks all grid references provided are correctly formatted and are in Dumfries and Galloway. To use the full functionality you must enable macros in your version of Excel (you may be prompted to do so when opening the spreadsheet).

Paper records

Hand-written Records can also be submitted. If you cannot submit records in spreadsheet format please use a recording form if at all possible so that all the relevant information can be recorded. The recording sheet is available as a Word document or pdf file.

Moth recording sheet
Moth recording sheet

Verifying records

One important role for the County Moth Recorder is to verify the records that are sent in.  The County Recorder will check the records and may as recorders for further details about certain records, particularly where these refer to rare or difficult to identify species.  Please do not be offended by this, as it is important that the records are as accurate as possible for the future use of the data.  If you have a new record for the county or record a rare species, please try to take a quality photograph or get the identification verified by a competent judge.
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
 Ear moths (Large Ear, The Ear, Crinan Ear, Saltern Ear)  Ear moth agg.
 Common Rustic/Lesser Common Rustic  Common/Lesser Common Rustic agg.
 GreyDagger/Dark Dagger  Dagger agg.
 November/Pale November/Autumnal/Small Autumnal  Epirrita agg.
 Engrailed/Small Engrailed  Ectropis agg.
 Tawny Marbled/Marbled/Rufous Minors  Marbled Minor 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.

Sharing Records

All verified records held by the County Recorder will be shared with the National Moth Recording Scheme.