Pembrokeshire Lepidoptera

Promoting understanding of the Moths and Butterflies
 of the County of Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Lepidoptera

Submitting records - General record submission notes:

The Pembrokeshire Lepidoptera Database currently holds over 200,000 records of moths and butterflies with this total increasing annually. Some are historical records gleaned from lists and articles published in journals and the oldest of these date back to 1875 (see the lists available on the Reports and Checklists page). However, the majority are more recent and date from 1980 onwards and have been collected by people going out and recording butterflies and moths by setting traps, field work such as searching for larval leaf mines, etc.

Records should be submitted to the County Recorder (see the Contacts page for details) for inclusion into the County Lepidoptera Database. Records are collated by the County Recorder and, if necessary, assessed by the an independent determiner. These independent determiners are among the most experienced and well-regarded lepidopterists within the County, but where appropriate consultations with outside expertise will take place for comments and assistance.

Each record should include a minimum of four basic elements; "WHAT", "WHEN", "WHO" and "WHERE":

the name of the species recorded. Scientific names are acceptable for all species as well as common names for the macro-lepidoptera and butterflies. Very few of the micro-lepidoptera have common names and, in general, should be referred to by their scientific names

the date on which the record was made. This may be a precise date (e.g. 3rd May 1997) or a vague date such as a month or year (e.g. May 1997 or 1997) or even a period with a start date and an end date. For overnight moth trapping, the date should indicate the evening/night on which the trap is set rather than the following morning when the trap is emptied. Butterfly and day-flying moth records will normally be assumed to be daylight records or field observations (although there are records of butterflies being taken in moth traps).

the name of the recorder with contact details (e.g. address, telephone number, email address, etc.).

the grid reference (a minimum of 4 figures - a 1 km square - but preferably 6 or 8 figures) and the site name at which the record was made. GPS units are now becoming more affordable and can be even more accurate; the best of them can record position to 12 figures or 1 metre.

This information constitutes a basic record and enables the plotting of distribution maps for species, a look at the phenology of a species and the ability to check back with the recorder if there are any queries regarding the record.

Other very useful information is:

  • the life-stage of the species recorded (ova/egg, larva/caterpillar, pupa/chrysalis, imago/adult)
  • how many of each species were recorded
  • who determined the species identification if different to the recorder (again with contact details)
  • for certain species requiring examination of the genitalia, a note saying whether or not this was done (this is necessary to separate some species from one another, e.g. Common Rustic (Mesapamea secalis)and Lesser Common Rustic (Mesapamea didyma) moths) and the Dark Dagger (Acronicta tridens) and Grey Dagger (Acronicta psi).
  • the method used to record the species; e.g. light-trapping, sweeping, beating, etc.
  • a habitat description of the site recorded
  • the weather conditions at the time the recording took place

Submitted records in the form of lists of species for sites and dates are more easy to enter into the computer than lists of sites and dates for individual species.

Spreadsheet files from Microsoft Excel or Lotus 1-2-3 can now be imported directly into MapMate® (the computer programme used to maintain the Pembrokeshire Lepidoptera Database) if they are first exported as 'tab-text' (*.txt) or 'comma-separated' (*.csv) files (instructions for doing this can be found in the help files for the relevant application).

It should be noted that any records submitted to the County Recorder will automatically be assumed to be available for use in the compilation of reports, checklists, etc. as well as distributed to other users in the County by way of MapMate® synchronisation, included in the databases of local record centres such as the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre (WWBIC) and distributed to national recording schemes such as the National Moth Recording Scheme (see the NMRS Data Policy document [note: this will open in a new window]) , NBN Gateway, Millennium Atlas Project, etc.

It is essential that records can be considered to be a reliable source of information. This is especially important where the information from these records may be utilised in support of conservation initiatives.

Yellow Shell moth

The Yellow Shell moth (Camptogramma bilineata) is often taken in moth traps in Pembrokeshire

Photo: ©David Harries

National Moth Recording Scheme logo

Pembrokeshire Lepidoptera supports the National Macro-moth Recording Scheme