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From leaf mining moths just a couple of millimetres in length to hawk-moths the size of your hand, moths in Wharfedale can be incredibly diverse. Since records began 995 species of moth have been recorded in Wharfedale using techniques such as light trapping, sugaring , hand netting and field observation. Moths are a great biodiversity indicator and are one of the unsung heroes of pollination.

Our Wharfedale Naturalists’ moth recorder

Recording your moths

When recording your moths it is helpful to submit data with the following columns:

Taxon (Species name – ideally the scientific name, please take care with spellings)

Site (Location - please don’t use your address)

Gridref (Grid reference of location – six figures)


VC (Vice County number, Wharfedale is in Mid-west Yorkshire VC ‘64’)


Recorder (Your name)


Determiner (The person who identified the moth if it wasn’t the recorder)


Date (Date of record, format dd/mm/yyyy)


Quantity (Quantity seen, ‘0’ can be used to represent present if a count wasn’t made)


Method (For example, ‘Light Trapping’, ‘Sugaring’, or ‘Field record / observation’)


Sex (Leave blank if unknown)


Stage (For example ‘Adult’, ‘Pupal’, or ‘Larval’)


Status (Usually left blank)


Comment (Often left blank, but useful if additional information would be helpful)


For records to be accepted, species that are rare or hard to identify may require a photo that shows key identification features for the species. In a few cases, dissection of the moth may be required to determine the species.


Take care when using identification apps. While they can be a good starting point for beginners, they don’t always get it right and they lack the local context.

Submitting your data so it’s useful at a Local and National level

For inclusion in the Wharfedale Naturalists’ dataset and reports please send your records to Aidan Smith ( as a spreadsheet. To facilitate inclusion in the National Moth Recording Scheme (NMRS) Aidan will forward any records and contact information received to the Vice County recorder for Mid-west Yorkshire (VC64). Some moth recorders choose to send their records direct to the VC64 recorder and copy Aidan in for the Wharfedale Naturalists’ records.

Many experienced moth recorders choose to use the recording software MapMate to create a spreadsheet of their data. Using software such as this helps get all formatting correct and is probably the quickest method if you have a lot of records.

An additional alternative is the recording spreadsheet developed by Butterfly Conservation. Again, this helps to get the formatting of taxon and dates correct. 

Please do not submit moth records using online recording software such as iRecord. While online recording software is the preferred method for some insect orders, practical issues arise due to the shear number of moth records and online recording systems become unworkable for our Vice County and County recorder.


During the summer months, our experienced recorders invite you to join them light trapping. Details of these evenings will be made available in due course.

Useful information sources

Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland (Third Edition), P. Waring and M. Townsend – for species information, distribution maps, lists of what should be flying tonight, contact information for our Vice County recorders in Yorkshire, and much more.

Field guide to the micro moths of Great Britain and Ireland (Second Eddition), P. Stirling and M. Parsons

british leafminers – an invaluable resource for identifying the signs of leaf-mining moths.

ukmoths – for an overview of all British species.

Yorkshire Moths group on facebook – a good way to connect with other local moth enthusiasts.

Wharfedale moth list

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