Millionth moth record in Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 15:00 22 March 2014
A long-running insect monitoring project in Hertfordshire has hit a landmark target - the millionth moth record.
Enthusiast Graeme Smith, one of about 250 people who regularly send records to county recorder Colin Plant, struck gold by finding a hazel blister moth (Phyllonorycter Coryli) hibernating in a storage bin at his workplace in Spellbrook, in East Hertfordshire.
Mr Plant maintains a database of moth records dating back to about 1820.
Mr Smith said: “I have always taken an interest in wildlife and find moths, with their seemingly endless array of shapes and colours, a fascinating subject.
“Since moving to Hertfordshire in 2001, I have found it hard not to be amazed at these wonders which lie, mostly undetected, on our very own doorstep.”
Mr Plant said: “Given that the National Moth Database has roughly 16.6 million moth records, the fact that we have recorded one million on our patch is highly significant.
“Having such a large and still increasing database of records means that we are able to undertake a range of analyses of the information and gain results that stand up to statistical and other scrutiny.”
The hazel blister moth is common in Hertfordshire, and has two flight periods – May/June and August.
At other stages in its life cycle, it either hibernates as an adult, or lives as a tiny caterpillar.
The National Moth Database, including the Hertfordshire records, is used by biologists to monitor fluctuating populations of Britain’s 3,000 species, and debate how they are affected by climate change and other environmental factors.