The first and most important thing about recording moths is the correct identification of the species. If you can positively identify a moth, you can submit a record. As well as the identification of the moth, there are a number of other details that one could submit. Below is a table with all the possible details. Those in bold are essential, but the more detail you submit, the better.
Below I will explain a little more about each column and how to get that detail
A. Taxon – this is the scientific name of the moth. You can submit records with just the vernacular (English) name of the moth, but avoid having both in the same column. You can also provide both in separate columns.
B. Site – this is not essential, but if it is your garden at home or a nature reserve like Wicken Fen, it will help to verify your record. A typo in the grid reference can easily be fixed with a site especially if its an address or postcode.
C. Grid reference –
D. VC – Vice County. This is always going to be VC29 for Cambridgeshire.
E. Recorder – your name
F. Determiner – the name of anyone who confirmed the identification of your moth.
G. Date – the date you recorded the moth. If you run a light trap the date should be the evening you turned on the trap.
H. Quantity – the number of individuals of the species you are recording.
I. Method – i.e. light trap, or leaf mine, or field observations. More detail can be added such as light trap – 125MV, or leaf mine on field maple, field observation nectaring on hogweed.
J. Sex – some species are sexually dimorphic (different) and sex can determined by colour, size or by antennae shape. If you are confident on identifying the sex of the moth, then record it here.
K. Stage – egg, larvae, pupae, adult
L. Status – if known please record this. Common, Scarce, etc.
M. Comments – any further details can help. Things like heavy rain, windy, type of habitat are examples.
If you do not record any of these details or do not know them, then writing “not recording” will help.
If you cannot identify a moth, all is not lost. Take a good quality digital photograph and send it here for identification. Keep the moth in a pot in the fridge until identification has been confirmed. Moths are fine in the fridge for 24hrs.