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Britain and Ireland's moths ‘on the move’
Intensive agriculture, artificial light and climate change are driving moth populations to other parts of Britain.

Landmark publication shows patterns of change in moth populations

Intensive agriculture, artificial light and climate change are driving moth populations to other parts of Britain and Ireland, according to new research.

A study by researchers in Britain and Ireland also found that other moths have colonised Britain, or have spread northwards to become abundant and widespread.

Their results are revealed in the newly-published Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths - the first publication to trace the distribution of all larger moths of Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in forensic detail.

Lead researcher on the Atlas, Dr Zoë Randle said: “The Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths is a landmark publication and a treasure trove to be mined to help us understand the patterns of change in Britain and Ireland’s moths. 
“The data used to produce the atlas has been collected by moth recorders (citizen scientists) who are united in their love, passion and interest in moths. It’s incredible what a movement of individuals can achieve as a community. We’re very grateful to everyone who has contributed their moth records, without them, we could not have published this book.”
The Atlas confirms that, in recent decades, some moth species have been lost entirely, including the Brighton wainscot and orange upperwing. There are also serious concerns for others, including the speckled footman, pale shining brown and stout dart, which have not been recently recorded.

Meanwhile, other moths have colonised Britain (such as the Clifden nonpareil and black-spotted chestnut) or spread rapidly north to be more widespread and abundant than they were previously.

In general, however, the abundance of moths have declined by as much as 34 per cent over the period 1970-2016. This is compared with only 11 per cent which have increased significantly.

Dr Randle continued: “Moths are indicators of the health of our environment, the declines reported are concerning, especially when you consider the potential knock-on effects for other creatures such as bats and birds that rely on moths and their caterpillars as a food source. 

“Moths also have an important role as pollinators of wildflowers and garden plants, they could be considered to be the bees of the night-time. Ultimately, we need to understand and value other species and the benefits they bring to our lives and the perils we face if we don’t.”

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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at until 30th August 2020.