Collecting Moths

Dave Chesmore E.D.Chesmore at
Thu Sep 11 04:37:07 EDT 1997

Neil Jones said that most of the recorders in his area do no collect 
voucher specimens of moths.  I am involved in moth surveys in my 
local area and is it IMPOSSIBLE to identify all species in poor lighting 
conditions (UV lights) and when 100's and possibly 1000's of moths 
are flying round.  This is even more the case when micro moths are 

Personally, I need to keep voucher specimens of some species for 2 

1.  To be able to properly identify them, and to be able to use them 
again in the future to help identify others (a reference collection).

2.  To show to the county recorders who will not accept records from 
anyone without evidence.

I have a recent example.  I have 2 specimens of what might be the 
Twin-spotted Wainscot (Archanara geminipuncta) from a private site in 
Yorkshire.  These specimens also look remarkably like the 
Brown-veined Wainscot (A. dissoluta) even though the 2 species are 
supposed to be easily separable.  The Twin-spotted Wainscot is very 
rare in Yorkshire and you can imagine the county recorder's reaction 
when I say I have found the species and no voucher specimens - he 
would not accept the record.

I may be wrong and they are Brown-veined Wainscots in which case 
the records are merely interesting.  We are all fallible and make 
mistakes, the more evidence the better.

I am sorry Neil, but recording without voucher specimens is not good 
science.  Maybe there are people who can identify 850 macro moths 
and over 1500 micros by sight but I doubt it.

Dr David Chesmore, FRES
Control & Intelligent Systems Engineering Research Group
Dept. of Electronic Engineering
University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX
Tel: +482 465062;  Fax: +482 466664
Email:  E.D.Chesmore at E-Eng.Hull.AC.UK
Web page:

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