This report reveals that the moth population of Britain is in serious decline, causing concern for the future of many species of birds, bats and several small mammals that feed on them.
Since 1968, the Rothamsted network of light traps has been recording numbers of larger moths caught every night from hundreds of locations across Britain. This provides one of the longest-running and geographically extensive data sets on insect populations anywhere in the world. Analysis of this data set, carried out by Rothamsted Research and Butterfly Conservation, has generated national population trends for hundreds of common moths for the first time.
The total number of moths recorded in Rothamsted trap samples has declined by a third since 1968. Population trends were generated for 337 moth species. Two thirds (226 species) show a decreasing population trend over the 35 year study. Such widespread declines are likely to be having detrimental knock-on effects on other organisms.