Moths In Cheshire Report - 1976

It will not be possible in a short time to map the 400 odd species of moths occurring in Cheshire with the same thoroughness as the 30 butterfly species. It seems however, that if we can record at least 200 species in about 15 10km squares spread over the county we shall have a reasonable sample which will give a representative picture of the distribution of the majority of the species.

Many recipients of this note will have seen the earlier note circulated at the beginning of 1976, I will not repeat the details but those who have it will see that progress has been made. There are now nine 10km squares with over 200 species recorded, three new ones have been added in 1976 and there have been additional records in all the six original 'well worked squares'.

These nine squares have a total of just over 400 species recorded with 106 in all nine and a further 119 occurring in 6, 7 or 8 of them, almost all of which can be expected to turn up in the remaining squares if these are worked regularly. The nine squares are SJ28, 47, 65, 75, 77, 78, 87, 88 and 97; i.e. there is a heavy bias towards the Eastern part of the county which we now aim to correct by adding a further six squares as follows:

  • SJ38 - This already quite well recorded (174 species), several lepidopterists live in or near it and another 50 species should present no problem.
  • SJ44 - The Rector of Malpas is going to operate a trap regularly in his garden (an ideal site) in 1977.
  • SJ45 - Bickerton Hill has been the venue for a successful field meeting in 1976 and lights have been worked there on three occasions with promising results (about 80 species). We hope to make regular visits with portable traps in 1977.
  • SJ46 - The Chester Zoo falls in this square and already operate a moth trap; the curator has promised to start regular recording and to make the records available to us. Geoff Wotherspoon has also promised some records from the Chester area.
  • SJ56 - B.Castell, a keen butterfly recorder, lives in Kelsall in this square and has promised to operate a trap in his garden.
  • SJ57 - Delamere Forest has been well worked in the past although in the period under revue (1961 onwards) we have records for only about 80 species. Again we aim to increase this by regular visits with portable traps.

In addition to these six squares in the Western half of the County we have two new trap operators near Holmes Chapel, both in square SJ76, so with any luck we shall have representative results from eight 10km squares in each half of the County and there will be no square in the County which, if not covered is at least adjacent to one or more 'well worked square'. (The earlier paper anticipated results also from SJ29 and 98; however, Dr Ainley lives in SJ28 not 29 and so we have little information forthcoming on SJ29. Neither have we found another recorder in SJ98 but with SJ87, 88 and 97 so well covered this is less important).

It is hoped that all recorders will continue to note the first date of first appearance of each species and will keep a single specimen of anything of doubtful identity or of any species whose existence in Cheshire might be seriously questioned; our results will all go to the Biological Records Centre (BRC) at Monks Wood and we must therefore ensure that they are as accurate as is humanly possible.

Experience suggests that in the first place it is preferable to record every species on the assumption that nothing is known. At a later stage any other available records are added in and the combined list compared with the records for the rest of the County in order to direct particular attention to those species which would be expected to occur and have not been found, these may include day fliers and those best found as larvae.

C.I. Rutherford                                                                                                                                                                              February 1977
Macclesfield Road
Alderley Edge
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