Recording Moths

Collecting records of moths in Hertfordshire and Middlesex is a major activity of the group.

This information is invaluable for conservation purposes locally and to feed into the National Moth Recording Scheme.

In 2008 the fruits of all this recording were published in Colin Plant's book "The Moths of Hertfordshire" (see right)

The recording effort did not stop there though and new species have been added to the county list since then

The county database is held in Mapmate. Many recorders now submit records electronically and to help us get the records onto the database with the minimum effort (and danger of inputting errors!) it is very helpful if records can be supplied in one of three ways


It matters not whether you use English or scientific names as long as they are correct.

It matters not what order the lists are in – taxonomic, alphabetic or random – I don’t care.

ONLY report positively ID’d species. If you have a doubt, leave it off your list. Don’t give me loads of justifications – include it if you are happy and delete it if you are not.

IF you then want to discuss a particular dodgy ID with me separately I will be happy to do so and if we agree it is correct it can be added later.

Please adhere to the following data standards:

  • “Ultimate, gold standard data” – complete lists for each and every date, giving numbers of each sex of each species caught;
  • “Near perfect data” – complete lists for each and every date, giving numbers of each species caught (i.e., moths not sexed);
  • “Quite good data” – separate lists for every date, but you forgot to count numbers;
  • “Acceptable data” – complete lists for each week of the year (especially if there are total numbers);
  • “Better than nothing data” – a list of species for the year.
Remember please that the date is the START of the night not the following morning. So a trap opened on xmas morning should be recorded as 24th December not 25th. This is the accepted standard and will matter for rarer species and immigrants.


this is fine … do carry on. I will take data in all formats as long as they are both correct and legible.


If you have the data in Map Mate please export in the usual manner and e-mail the exported file to me (ideally in Excel format – xls of, if you must, xlsx).

To output a file in the ideal format add this to your queries by copying the text below into a new user query in MapMate.

PARAMETERS [#vicecounty] Text; SELECT Records.[_guk], [Taxa\Default].Taxon, [Sites\Default].Name AS Site, [Sites\Default].OSGridRef AS Gridref, IIf([Sites\Default].ViceCounty>200,'H' & [Sites\Default].ViceCounty-200,[Sites\Default].ViceCounty) AS VC, Recorders.Name AS Recorder, Recorders_1.Name AS Determiner, IIf([Records].DateTo-[Records].Date<27,Format([Records].Date,"dd/mm/yyyy"),IIf([Records].DateTo-[Records].Date>32,Format([Records].Date,"yyyy"),Format([Records].Date,"mmm yyyy"))) AS [Date], Records.Quantity & IIf([*Sex]<>'u',' ' & [*Sex],'') AS Quantity, Methods.Method, TaxonSex.Sex, TaxonStage.Stage, RecordStatus.Status, Records.Comment FROM (((((((Records INNER JOIN [Taxa\Default] ON Records.[*Taxon] = [Taxa\Default].[_guk]) INNER JOIN [Sites\Default] ON Records.[*Site] = [Sites\Default].[_guk]) INNER JOIN Methods ON Records.[*Method] = Methods.[_guk]) INNER JOIN Recorders ON Records.[*Recorder] = Recorders.[_guk]) INNER JOIN Recorders AS Recorders_1 ON Records.[*Identifier] = Recorders_1.[_guk]) INNER JOIN TaxonStage ON Records.[*Stage] = TaxonStage.[_guk]) INNER JOIN RecordStatus ON Records.[*Status] = RecordStatus.[_guk]) INNER JOIN TaxonSex ON Records.[*Sex] = TaxonSex.[_guk] WHERE ([Sites].[ViceCounty] Like [#vicecounty]) AND (Year([Date])=[Enter a Year - eg 1999])

SYNC files from Map Mate are not accepted because the data cannot be edited by a different cuk. If you have a large amount of data that has all been verified by an expert I might consider a SYNC file if you talk to me first.

If you do not have Map Mate or cannot export from Map Mate for some reason, please try to put the data into an Excel spread sheet.

If you keep data as a Word file, do remember that you can paste Word tables directly into Excel. Make sure there are no merged cells or anything else fancy, then just highlight the whole table, copy and paste into cell A1 of a new Excel spreadsheet. Feel free to phone me for immediate “tech support” on this. If I can do it then any fool can.

No matter how you generate the Excel spreadsheet, please create it in this style The first line (the headers) is case sensitive and spelling sensitive and please don’t insert any extra spaces. You do no need to insert the header line but you must try to put your columns in the right order.

Essentially, it is species down the left (column 1) and then each line become a separate record.

We can manage files with dates across the top, but we don’t like it! It takes extra time since the file has to go to Andrew Wood for “adjusting” to the correct format before returning to me for entry. So – please don’t make work for Andrew! If you catch 50 species on a particular night then the ideal format is 50 lines in the spreadsheet (more if you sexed the moths). If you caught another 50 the next night then add another 50 lines NOT an extra column! IF IN DOUBT PHONE ME AND ASK.

Unless you are suicidal NEVER MIX ENGLISH AND LATIN NAMES IN THE SAME COLUMN. If you do I promise that I will throw my toys out of my pram, because I will have to go through the list and manually look for and change each mixed line. If you use English for macros and Latin for micros you need 2 columns please – for macros Latin will be blank and for micros English will be blank.

PLEASE try and spell the names correctly. All spelling mistakes are rejected by the computer and have to be manually corrected by me before entry.

As long as you follow the correct format, you can put all your sites and all of your dates in a single Excel worksheet. This includes data from different counties if you wish. So if you trap in both Herts and Middlesex, or just have the odd records from a Scottish holiday that you want to get into the system, simply add them on and I will import them here. I due course I will pass these to the appropriate County Moth Recorder and he/she may then come back to discuss their accuracy, of course. This in fact makes life a lot easier for me here. No non-British data though (Ireland is acceptable).

Try to avoid commas in place names. I live at “West Road Bishops Stortford” and not at “West Road, Bishops Stortford”. This is because it would upset any future exporting of comma-delimited format files. However, I will in any event alter your home location to conform to whatever version I already have – otherwise it would show as a separate site! It is surprising how many gardens change their grid references from year to year!

Recording Forms (for macro Moths)

If you do not wish to submit records electronically we offer some paper recording Forms. They are in Rich Text Format (rtf) which is viewable in most Word Processing Programmes.

You can save the forms to your computer by clicking the link and selecting 'Save as' in your browser.

IMPORTANT: All records are welcome whatever their format!


Hertfordshire and Middlesex
County Moth Recorder:

Colin W. Plant
14 West Road
Bishops Stortford
CM23 3QP
Tel/fax: 01279 507697

Site Maintainer Andrew Wood
93 Bengeo Street
SG14 3EZ
Tel: 01992-503571