Introduction to Moths - Herts & Middx Butterfly Conservation

Moths - an introduction

Moth pages linked to this page . . .

Although called Butterfly Conservation, the society also has an interest in the conservation of moths and their habitats. After all, moths and butterflies together form the order Lepidoptera, the divisions of which are artificially imposed.

The branch does not have a moth officer but moth recorders Andrew Wood and Liz Goodyear are happy to act as a point of contact between members and Colin Plant, who is the county moth recorder for Hertfordshire and Middlesex.

The Herts & Middlesex Moth Group

The Herts & Middlesex Moth Group was formed in 2000 by Colin Plant for anyone who is interested in moths, specifically Hertfordshire or Middlesex. There are no membership fees but Colin Plant writes a regular free e-newsletter called Moth Mumblings. To receive the newsletter please contact Colin Plant.

Up to date detailed distribution maps including the status of all moths in the area can be found on the Herts & Middlesex Moth Group website

Moth Recording

We encourage all members to record moths including those seen flying during the day.

All moth records including day-flying moths should be submitted via the Moth Group website at this link Moth Record submission or sent direct to Colin Plant.
( It should be noted that records of moths entered into iRecord are not monitored or directly validated - the County Moth Recorders gets a spreadsheet once a year at which point records are only then validated and added to the Moth Group Databases. )

Moth conservation

Most moth recording is conducted in back gardens or at certain sites rather than widely across the public realm and so the data available is not necessarily useful for conservation purposes. There are about 1500 moth species in our area compared to under 40 butterflies and many of the rarer species may be migrants or internal wanderers whose presence is not relevant to the landscape or site where they have been found.

Where there are priority species linked into our landscapes projects, we will use the available information on habitat management, known distribution and status to incorporate this in advice on sites in those landscapes.

Light pollution

Light pollution threatens many nocturnal insects, including important pollinators like moths, by disrupting their ability to feed, breed and carry out their usual behaviour.
How to reduce light pollution at home

Dispelling moth myths
Some moths seem to generate bad press but this is often as a result of misunderstandings and poor media coverage. Butterfly Conservation is very keen to dispel these myths - please follow these links to read more.
Moth Myths
Oak Processionary

And finally moths are not brown and boring!

Moths come in an amazing variety of sizes and colours, and different species can be found flying throughout the year including during the winter months. Here are just a small selection of the variety of species that can be encountered in our branch area.

Peppered moth
Biston betularia
© photo: Sandra Standbridge
The Mullein larva
Cucullia verbasci
© photo: Andrew Wood
Oak Eggar (male)
Lasiocampa quercus
© photo: John Murray

Netted Pug
Eupithecia venosata
© photo: Trevor Chapman
Bordered White
Bupalus piniaria
© photo: Liz Goodyear
Coxcomb Prominent
Ptilodon capucina
© photo: Liz Goodyear

Black Arches
Lymantria monacha
© photo: Liz Goodyear
Merveille du Jour
Griposia aprilina
© photo: Liz Goodyear
Phalera bucephala
© photo: Liz Goodyear

Pine Hawk-moth
Sphinx pinastri
© photo: Liz Goodyear
Swallow Prominent
Pheosia tremula
© photo: Liz Goodyear
Swallow-tailed Moth
Ourapteryx sambucaria
© photo: Liz Goodyear

Puss Moth
Cerura vinula
© photo: Liz Goodyear
Poplar Hawk-moth
Laothoe populi
© photo: Liz Goodyear
Green Silver-lines
Pseudoips prasinana
© photo: Liz Goodyear