DG Moths website updated

SWSEIC has been busy updating the Dumfries & Galloway moth website. The website has been developed to aid recorders by providing the current known distribution of species in D&G, identification of moths and to provide information about their ecology.

All moth records up to 2022 have now been added to the species distribution maps and we have updated all of the species statistics (vice-counties, number of records etc.).

Some notable species recorded for the first time in 2023 are included (but will not get a map update until next year’s update). Most species, but not quite all, have photos taken locally. If you have any photos (specifically taken in D&G) for species without a photo (or if you have a photo of a different lifestage) that you would be happy to share on the website please do let us know.

Local moth recorders’ records have helped to highlight changes for some species. Human activity and our warming climate has influenced distribution changes for some species in the region. Historically Spruce Carpet would have been a rather scarce species, but today it is widespread – an increase in local records no doubt attributable to an increase in its food plants through commercial afforestation. Buff Footman has seen a significant increase in local records in line with national trends; this species is the fastest expanding species in the UK, with an 84,589% increase in range since 1968 calculated from data up to 2016 (Atlas of Britian & Irelands Larger Moths, 2019).


Declines in numbers and distributions are more difficult to detect at a local scale, due to the variability of recording effort.  For some species the number of records appears to have fallen, which could suggest population declines and/or range contraction. For example there have been notably fewer records of Mouse Moth from the west of the region in recent years and some scarcer species, such as Grass Rivulet, have had no recent records.  But drawing conclusions from such a varied set of data is difficult.


We have also generated a number of summary maps to help visualise the data. The map below shows the total number of records for each 10km square (hectad). Currently in first place for numbers of total records is NX98 containing Kirkton and Holywood which has an astonishing 26,474 records! Also at the forefront is NX65 containingTwynholm and Ringford at 19,572 total records. Areas lacking records unsuprisngly include many hectads on our border with other regions with some such as NS82 and NS72 north of Sanquhar having only tiny amounts of land in Dumfies and Galloway. There are still good opportunities to improve the number of moth records from parts of the Galloway Hills, the Rhins of Galloway and eastern Dumfriesshire.

The next map shows total species richness per hectad. The hectad with most total species recorded is NX85 south of Dalbeattie with 716 total species being recorded and good species coverage can also be found along lower Nithsdale. Unsurprisingly the number of species recorded mirrors where some of our keenest moth recorders live!

Our next two map shows species richness per hectad for macro-moths. Macro-moths is the term used for the group of taxonomic families containing most of the larger moth species. The first map was produced in 2013 and we recreated a similar map with the same colour scale for data up to and including 2022. We can clearly see an increase in the number of macro-moth species recorded throughout much of the region, with far fewer green  squares and many more oranges and reds. This was in part down to a concerted effort made by local recorders to ensure better coverage for the 2016 national moth atlas. Some squares (NX87 and NX69 in Kirkcudbrightshire stand out as having changed little in the last 10 years and would be worth visiting in search of moth records. However, the two maps may have been created with slighlty different methodologies and couple with rejected or deleted records would explain a decrease in some hectads on the new map.

The following map shows total species richness for micro-moths (the families of moths which primarily contain the smallest moths). These smaller moths are often much trickier to identify than their macro-moth cousins, and have often been overlooked by moth recorders since until relatively recently the guides to assist with their identification have  not been readily accessible or easy to understand. Consequently this map reflects where our most dedicated micro-moth recorders live and look for moths! Our best recorded hectad for micro-moths is NX85 with 337 species recorded. There  are plently of opportunities for recording new micro-moth records throughout the region.

The following map pair shows the impact that moth recording has had in improving our understanding of local moth distribution. Each map shows the number of new macro- and micro-moths recorded in each hectad in the last decade. The biggest gains have come in the micro-moths, aided by the publication of better field guides and the establishment of excellent online resources to aid with ID. There has been an especially large increase in the number of micro-moth species recorded in the southerly parts of Dumfrieshire and Kirkcudbrightshire. Macro-moths have seen the greatest gains in NX88 containing Dunscore and NY16 & NY17 in Annandale.

A big thank you to all of our recorders, volunteers and current and past moth verifiers without whose records and help the update of DG Moths Website and these maps would not have been possible.

Website by Red Paint

SUP is registered in Scotland as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Registered address: The Southern Uplands Partnership, Studio 2, Lindean Mill, Galashiels, TD1 3PE. Company No. SC200827 / Charity No. SCO29475

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