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Are moths on the move?

The release of a new book has shown how moths in Britain and Ireland are changing and has revealed that they are on the move. This is down to factors such as habitat damage and climate change, and the extent of the change was explained in the new publication of Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths.  The book is extremely thorough as it lists 893 species of moth.

According to scientists, intensive agriculture and the use of fertilisers and pesticides have caused the decline in several moth species and have destroyed many wildlife habitats. Environmental pollution such as chemicals in soil and the air and artificial light at night plays a huge part in damaging moth habitats as it is disturbing natural plant and animal surroundings.

After scientists have analysed the distribution records of moths between the years or 1970 to 2016, they have discovered that 31% of 390 larger moth species have dramatically declined in Britain. During this period, 38% of moths became more widespread in Britain.

Dr Zoë Randle, the lead researcher on the book has 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.”

“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.”

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