About this site


Block Island Moths is intended for use both by anyone looking learn about Block Island’s moth fauna and for professional and amateur lepidopterists more generally. This website can serve as a field guide for use by anyone attempting identification of moths found on Block Island, though it would be of more limited use elsewhere in the region, since there are many species commonly found on the mainland and on nearby islands that do not occur on Block Island. If you find moths of any life stage on Block Island, please submit photos to BugGuide or iNaturalist or send them to me at for prompt identification and inclusion of any novel species or seasonality records here.

The main section of this website is for moths, with butterflies excluded. However, there are sections for the butterflies and caddisflies of Block Island. The species pages for butterflies lack the phenology graph and distribution map found on the moth species pages, since butterflies are all diurnal and seldom seen at lights. I have recorded caddisflies at lights using the same methodology as for moths, so species pages for Trichoptera include these graphics.

In addition to providing a wealth of information on Block Island’s moth fauna, this website serves as a digital field guide to the island’s moths. There may be no place on Earth with 1,000+ moth species where identification of the local fauna is as easy as it now is on Block Island thanks to this website. Go to the identify section to identify nearly any moth on Block Island using plates of live images.

The phenology data included on the species pages would probably prove instructive for regional comparisons and useful as a guide to species’ flight times to moth observers throughout southern New England. The data on species’ local distribution, combined with the information included on species’ habitat preferences and host plants, could also prove useful as a proxy measure of the distribution of Block Island’s flora. Finally, the summaries of the data gathered at each black lighting site can provide some indication of the most ecologically valuable places on Block Island especially worthy of conservation.


This section of the Block Island Moths website is intended to be used as a guide to the island’s moth fauna. It is obtimized for mobile browsers to enable easy use on a phone as a digital field guide. The images are organized multiple ways to aid identification.

The taxonomy view displays single images of up to six species in each superfamily, family, genus, or other taxon. In this view, taxa are organized and images selected with ease of use and aesthetics in mind; the ordering therefore differs substantially from both the Hodges (1983) sequence and the phylogenetic order of Pohl, Patterson, and Pelham (2016). Generally, similar taxa are placed together, and the most abundant and diverse taxa are placed near the top. Clicking on a taxon will bring the user to a page displaying images of all local daughter taxa. When a taxon has only one immediate daughter taxon present on Block Island, clicking on it skips to the daughter taxon. When viewing genera, for any genus with only one local species, the species name will be shown. Clicking on it will bring the user to its species page. Clicking on a genus displays an image of each species in the genus; displaying an image of each species for a higher taxon can be done by selecting either of the other two viewing options (see next). The species view displays a single image of each species in a given taxon. The default is for the species to be ordered according to the Pohl et al. (2016) phylogenetic sequence, but the species can instead be displayed in order of abundance in my surveying from 2018 to 2021.

Species Information

The centerpiece of this website is the series of species pages for the more than 1,200 moth species recorded on Block Island. Each page includes representative live photographs; a chart of flight time phenology; a map of Block Island depicting the local distribution of the species; information on host plants, life cycle, identification, and more; and a list of specimens collected on Block Island.

Flight time phenology is represented for most species in three ways, in all cases organized by 1/3-month period (1st to 10th, 11th to 20th, and 21st to end of month) (Fig. 1). All records from photographs, notes, and specimens gathered in the present survey, along with all older records I have found from previous surveying, are used as species presence records. To calculate abundance, I use only my nightly records from my porch lights (the Hunt property), which I began taking in 2018. I have enough records for abundance estimates from late May to early October. Abundance is represented in two ways: as individuals per survey night and as percent of moths of all species.

Flight time phenology is represented differently for species that are rare at the Hunt property but common enough at at least one major black lighting site to create a large sample size. More than half of all my records since 2018 are at the Hunt property, and this is the only site with many survey nights in each 1/3-month period throughout the summer. For species common at the tupelo forest southeast of the airport and/or the site in the north of Nathan Mott Park Preserve west of the airport and/or the site in the south of Nathan Mott Park Preserve near Old Mill Road but rare at the Hunt property, numbers of individuals for each survey night from one or both sites are depicted in a scatterplot, with abundance values for the Hunt property added if informative (Figs. 2–4).

Each species page include a map of Block Island that provides information on the local distribution of the species (Fig. 5). Each map uses my sighting records from the Hunt property and at sheets at sites across Block Island since 2018. The total number of sightings of the species, the percentages of those sightings that occurred in each area surveyed, and the percentages of sightings of all moth species that occurred in each area. While these are crude measures that do not account for seasonality, they are generally informative, especially for common species. Percentage representation of a site for one species that is much lower that of the site for all moths indicates that the species in question is poorly represented at that site relative to elsewhere on Block Island, and higher representation indicates the reverse. Some species are about equally common at sites across the island, while some have been found exclusively at one surveyed site. Refer to site descriptions for information needed to relate a species’s local distribution on Block Island to its possible host plants and habitat requirements.

Figure 1. Flight time phenology of Archips purpurana. 1/3-month periods in which the species has been recorded on Block Island are shaded in gray. Abundance in individuals per night of surveying (blue) and as percent of all moths recorded (red) at the Hunt property since 2018 is calculated for each 1/3-month period from late May to early October.
Figure 2. Flight time phenology of Nola clethrae. This species is uncommon at the Hunt property, where the host plant does not occur, but very common in the tupelo forest. Additionally, one of its two flights is in April and May, for which I have very little data from the Hunt property, which is rarely feasible to survey in the spring due to wind. Each point in black represents the average abundance for a 1/3-month period using all survey nights at the Hunt property since 2018. Each point in green is the number of individuals recorded in a single night at the tupelo forest; all survey nights at the site since 2019 (when surveying there began) are shown.
Figure 3. Flight time phenology of Eutrapela clemataria. This species is rare at the Hunt property but common at some other locations. Each point in darker green is the number of individuals recorded in a single night at the tupelo forest; all survey nights at the site since 2019 (when surveying there began) are shown. Each point in lighter green is the number of individuals recorded in a single night near in the south part of Nathan Mott Preserve; all survey nights at the site since 2018 are shown.
Figure 4. Flight time phenology of Eutrapela clemataria. This species is rare at the Hunt property but common in the tupelo forest. Each point is the number of individuals recorded in a single night at the tupelo forest; all survey nights at the site since 2019 (when surveying there began) are shown.
Figure 5. Distribution map for Archips purpurana. 116 individuals were recorded from 2018 to 2021 at the Hunt property lights or at sheets at sites across the island. Each black dot marks a site at which I set up a sheet at least once in that period. Most nights, I have set up two sheets rather than one, so adjacent sites were typically surveyed concurrently. A few sites visited only once are excluded; the others are grouped together by area (black circles) for statistical purposes. The percent of all moth sightings of all species at all sites since 2018, over 35,000, that were recorded in each outlined area is shown in light gray in brackets. The percentage of the 116 A. purpurana sightings that were recorded at each site is shown in white. For instance, over 20,000 moth records were at the Hunt property, 57.5% of the total for all sites; while 55 of the 166 sightings of A. purpurana were at the Hunt property, 47% of the total.


About the Authors

Surveying the moths of Block Island has been a passion project of mine for the last several years. I began regularly photographing moths in 2014 with no prior experience, and within a few years, photographing, identifying, collecting, and studying moths became my primary preoccupation. I am now a masters student at the University of Delaware writing my thesis about how urbanization shapes moth community composition in and around Boston and Providence. I intend to pursue a PhD next, most likely working on moth systematics.

Nigel Grindley is an emeritus professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University. He and his wife Cathy Joyce are year-round residents of Block Island. I met them in 2015 after Nigel and I found out about our shared interest in moths through BugGuide. Nigel began photographing moths in 2014, around the same time I did and has collaborated with me in surveying the moths of Block Island since the beginning of the project.

Aaron Hunt



Moths constitute one of the most diverse and abundant groups of insects globally and are richly represented in nearly every terrestrial habitat. The most distinctive feature of adult moths and butterflies is the dense, colorful scaling covering nearly the entire body. Moths and butterflies undergo complete metamorphosis, with four distinct life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The larva, which has up to several pairs of prolegs in addition to three pairs of true legs, is usually called a caterpillar; it produces silk used to build shelters and hang from foliage. In many species, the larva spins a silken cocoon and pupates within it. Adults have two pairs of wings, though these are reduced or absent in females, and more rarely in males, of some species.

Moths and butterflies comprise the order Lepidoptera, one of the four largest insect orders along with Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), and Hymenoptera (wasps and bees), with over 150,000 described species. In phylogenetic terms, butterflies are one diverse clade of moths; their most recent common ancestor was a moth. Butterflies are usually considered separately from the rest of Lepidoptera (i.e. “moths”) for historical and practical reasons: the adults are exclusively diurnal and by far the most conspicuous and abundant day-flying Lepidoptera. (This division in common names is not reflected in all languages; in French, for instance, all Lepidoptera are papillons.) Butterflies’ diurnal habits, heavy reliance on nectar for food, and vibrant colors in their adult stage have made them the most popular and best-studied group of insects. However, butterflies have not been a focus of the Block Island moth survey due to the popular distinction between them and the rest of Lepidoptera; their already being very well-studied; and, crucially, their diurnal habits, which mean they can’t be studied by surveying with lights.



Survey Methods


Surveying for moths is most often and easily accomplished by setting lights at night to attract adults. Moths are primarily nocturnal, and most species are attracted to lights, some much more strongly than others. A single bright ultraviolet or incandescent light placed in a rich temperate habitat will reliably attract well over 100 species of moths on on calm, moonless, and warm summer nights. Even in quite degraded and fragmented semi-natural habitats, such as the post-agricultural meadows and shrublands that cover much of Block Island, a light can attract over 100 species of moths on the best nights. While certain moth taxa are diurnal or not attracted to lights, most species present in any given area will come to lights at least occasionally.

Light surveying has been the main method used in the Block Island moth survey, and only a handful of the more than 1,200 species known from Block Island have been recorded on the island only by other survey means. The most conspicuous and diverse group of Lepidoptera not attracted to lights is the butterflies, which comprise a single large diurnal superfamily, Papilionoidea. (Butterflies evolved from moths and from the perspective of cladistics are a group of diurnal moths in the same way birds are therapod [dinosaurs], hominids are apes, and ants are wasps.) Moths are also commonly surveyed by searching flowers on warm sunny days for nectaring diurnal adults, sweeping fields for adults, and searching for larvae on and in plants; I have not utilized these methods as much as I would like so far.

What makes my survey nearly unique among moth surveys is that since 2018, I have made comprehensive records of abundances of all species each survey night, recording more than 40,000 individual moths in four seasons. This dataset allows for quantitative analysis of the fauna, which I have only just begun. For each species, I have generated a flight time phenology chart and a map of relative abundance in each area surveyed. For common species, my observations reliably measure flight times and habitat preferences. My data can also be used to characterize Block Island’s moth fauna in great detail. So far, I have produced measures of the similarity of the fauna between survey locations and, using my observations at my porch lights, its change over the course of the season.


The methods, goals, and scope of this survey evolved organically over the course of several years beginning in 2014. This survey began as part of a more general survey of Block Island’s animal fauna I began in August 2014 with no guidance or prior experience in faunal surveying methods or species identification. Over the following few years, moths become nearly the exclusive focus of the project, and the moth component of my survey gradually grew into an effort at a comprehensive survey of Block Island’s moths. I began collecting moths in 2016 but did not intensively collect for identification until 2018. I began blacklighting around the island, collecting smaller microlepidoptera, and counting common species at my porch lights in 2017. In 2018, my survey efforts took close to their definitive form. I regularly set up sheets for blacklighting at sites across the island that summer, recorded all individual moths sighted both at my porch lights at at blacklighting sheets, and intensively collected taxa I could not identify to species by sight. In 2021, I began using no-kill bucket traps to supplement my surveying with sheets, particularly in dunes, where winds slacken enough for surveying with sheets only a few nights each summer. Future plans, aside from additional surveying for moths, include floristic and habitat surveys of each location sampled and a detailed plant inventory of the Hunt property and surrounding area.

I began nightly estimates of species counts at my porch lights in 2017 for a set slate of several dozen common species and species complexes and in 2018 for nearly every species. Certain groups, such as Pero spp. and Eulithis spp., in which the species present on Block Island are difficult to impossible to separate on sight, I have recorded jointly. Some groups I could not personally identify on sight in 2018 or into 2019, notably all Renia spp., and some Acronicta spp., I always photographed and/or collected for later determination. Anything unrecognized I likewise photographed and/or collected. Since 2019, I have always collected each species I have not previously seen. For Coleophora spp. and Blastobasidae, I recorded morphospecies as precisely as I could, though I shortsightedly did not consistently make note of the streaky tan Coleophora spp. in 2019. I have since identified many of these morphospecies in through identification of collected specimens, though probably several of Block Island’s Coleophora species are indistinguishable by sight due their similarity, low contrast patterning, and small size. Aside from the omission of some Coleophora spp. in 2019, I have recorded in some manner all moths seen since 2018.

While the great majority of my survey effort has been with lights, I have searched in daytime for adults of diurnal species on flowers and vegetation and by sweeping meadows and for larvae, especially leafminers. Additionally, Nigel Grindley has regularly photographed and collected moths at lights at his home in the southwest of Block Island for several years, by a remarkable coincidence starting the same year I did. In the last few years, he has also surveyed at sheets with blacklights several years while I have been off the island. By my count, he has found 58 species I have not found, of these, fewer than ten were recorded by previous surveyors, making Nigel’s contribution to the island’s species list quite significant. (He has of course seen several hundred of the species I have seen as well.) His surveying has disproportionately added species that fly only very early or late in the season, when I have rarely been on Block Island.

Recording Sightings

The methodology I have used for counting numbers of each species at my porch lights is roughly as follows: I start by scanning the porch, walls, and eaves for moths and note the species I see on my phone. As I go, I photograph uncommon or otherwise interesting moths and capture specimens I wish to collect, usually for identification. I frequently update estimated numbers of each species based either on spotting specimens that were worn or differently patterned than those previously counted or by scanning the entire area for all examples of a set of species for a more complete count. For especially abundant species, I estimate numbers. While my methodology is highly inexact, especially during the most productive nights, it has been fairly consistent. The time I spend at the porch lights each night varies based on the number of moths present, but during the peak of the season, 45-60 minutes is probably typical.

During blacklighting sessions, I follow a similar procedure to that I employ at my porch lights, except in that I spend most or all of the night observing moths until I take down the sheets. When I use two sheets, as I typically do, I record moths separarately at each sheet. I make multiple visits to each sheet each night, and I often note the moths I see flying past when walking between the sheets. My notes on moth found away from the sheets have informed my understanding of which common species are poorly drawn to lights. My typical procedure for counting individuals of a species at a sheet is to quickly but thoroughly scan each side of the sheet and then any nearby plants as well as the ground, continually scanning the sheet and updating counts as long as the total number of individuals present appears to be increasing. As at the porch lights, I use photography and collection to fill all gaps in the data created by identification uncertainty, excepting certain species complexes.

Data Analysis

At the end of each season, I compile all my sighting records into a single document in chronological order. I manually add my sightings to a spreadsheet with a line for each species and a column for each night or blacklighting sheet (Fig. 1). Records of unidentified species are marked in red and with asterisks and revisited when I identify the species they represent. I add photographic and specimen records, not all of which I include in my nightly notes, to my tables to complete my records.

I use a series of spreadsheets to store all my photographic records from 2017 and earlier, Nigel’s photographic records, and records from older surveys; and I use these along with my 2018–2021 sighting tables to make a single table with presence/absence data for each species in each 1/3-month period from March through December (Fig. 2). I use the sighting records from my porch lights from 2018 to present to calculate flight time phenology in individuals per survey night and as a percent of all moth records for each 1/3-month period (Fig. 3).

Figure 1. A section of the table with sighting records from 2020; columns for blacklighting nights are shaded gray. Photographic sightings are indicated by light gray shading.
Figure 2. A section of the table with species presence (1) or absence (0) over the season.
Figure 3. A section of the table with calculated species abundances over the season. The number of individuals per night of surveying is the total number of individuals recorded at my porch lights in a 1/3-month period from 2018 to 2021 divided by the number of nights I surveyed at my porch lights in that period. The denominator excludes extremely poor nights with numbers far below normal due to high winds. Abundance is also calculated as the number of individuals of a species divided by the number of individuals of all species of moths recorded at my porch lights in each 1/3-month period. Records of a few taxa, such as Coleophora, remain very incomplete, so the true values are slightly lower than currently calculated. Percent representation of each species will fall as records of particularly difficult taxa are identified and added.

Partial List of Relevant Survey Data and Other Research

*Not open access

^Based on systematic (Rothamsted Insect Survey and Garden Moth Scheme) and opportunistic (National Moth Recording Scheme) population monitoring in British Isles

Major North American Moth Phenology Data Sets

GA: Clarke Co. (J. Pickering) — Hundreds of thousands of photographic records since 2010. This is the only other complete all-taxa nightly moth abundance data set of which I am aware. Sighting data on individual species can be found here.

NC (Moths of North Carolina) — >150,000 records of moths in the state, compiled by S. Hall et al. from all available sources (collected specimens, survey reports, and photographs). Adult phenology charts for each species are generated separately for each of four ecoregions: high mountains, low mountains, piedmont, and coastal plain.

MA (MassMoths) — >250,000 records of moths in the state, compiled by S. Whitebread et al. from all available sources (collected specimens, survey reports, and photographs). Currently, adult (and larval) phenology charts are shown for only a small number of species, e.g. 1, 2, 3.

OR, WA, BC (PNWMoths) — Nearly 100,000 records, mostly museum specimens, of 1,248 species of macromoths (Macroheterocera) excluding Geometridae. Most records are from Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia; Idaho and adjacent portions of surrounding states are also covered. Phenology is graphed for each species, and records can be filtered by elevation and year.

LA: Abita Springs (V.A. Brou) — Millions of records of moths from large-scale nightly light-trapping, conducted continuously since 1969. Several dozen published short papers, each treating one species or a small genus, some coauthored by C.D. Brou, report summarized phenology data along with state distribution data. These can be found in the complete archives of the Southern Lepidopterists’ News, which is indexed for easy searching.

Phenology, Population Variation, and Local Biogeography

Albu, V. & S. Albu, 2023. Lepidoptera assemblages along a western slope elevation gradient of the south-central Sierra Nevada mountains in California. J. Lep. Soc. 77(1): 43–58.*

Highland, S.A., J.C. Miller, & J.A. Jones, 2013. Determinants of moth diversity and community in a temperate mountain landscape: vegetation, topography, and seasonality. Ecosphere 4(10): 129.

Mustelin, T., L.G. Crabo, & C. Looney, 2020. Lepidoptera Diversity Based on Continuous Surveys 2009–2011 and 2017–2019 at a Transition Zone Site in the Central Cascade Range, Washington, USA. J. Lep. Soc. 74(4): 263–289.*

Powell, J.A., 1994. Biogeography of Lepidoptera on the California Channel Islands, pp. 450–464 in W.L. Halvorson & G. J. Maender (eds.). The Fourth California Islands Symposium: Update on the Status of Resources. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, CA.

Raimondo, S., A.M. Liebhold, J.S. Strazanac, & L. Butler, 2004. Population synchrony within and among Lepidoptera species in relation to weather, phylogeny, and larval phenology. Ecological Entomology 29(1): 96–105. [PDF]

Stange, E.E., M.P. Ayres, & J.A. Bess, 2011. Concordant population dynamics of Lepidoptera herbivores in a forest ecosystem. Ecography 34: 772–779.

Wilson, J.F., D. Baker, M. Cook, G. Davis, R. Freestone, D. Gardner, D. Grundy, N. Lowe, S. Orridge, & H. Young, 2015. Climate association with fluctuation in annual abundance of fifty widely distributed moths in England and Wales: a citizen-science study. J. Insect Conserv. 19: 935–946.^

Work, T.T. & D.G. McCullough, 2000. Lepidopteran Communities in Two Forest Ecosystems During the First Gypsy Moth Outbreaks in Northern Michigan. Environ. Entomol. 29(5): 884–900.

Other North American Phenology Data

Lewis, M.N., R.M. Steichen, & K.S. Summerville, 2005. The Moths of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge: A Preliminary Assessment. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science: JIAS 112(1–2): 1–12.

Murphy, S.M., J.T. Lill, & M.E. Epstein, 2011. Natural history of limacodid moths (Zygaenoidea) in the environs of Washington, D.C. J. Lep. Soc. 65(3): 137–152.

Tolley, M.P., 1982. Aspects of the biology of sod webworms (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae: Crambinae) and turfgrass inhabiting insects of Virginia. MS entomology thesis at Virginia Tech. 52 pp.

Forest Defoliator Population Cycling

Büntgen, U., A. Liebhold, D. Nievergelt, B. Wermelinger, A. Roques, F. Reinig, P.J. Krusic, A. Piermattei, S. Egli, P. Cherubini, & J. Esper, 2020. Return of the moth: rethinking the effect of climate on insect outbreaks. Oecologia 192: 543–552.

Haynes, K.J., A.J. Allstadt, D. Klimetzek, 2014. Forest defoliator outbreaks under climate change: effects on the frequency and severity of outbreaks of five pine insect pests. Global Change Biology 20(6): 2004–2018.*

Nealis, V.G. & J. Régnière, 2014. An individual-based phenology model for western spruce budworm (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). The Canadian Entomologist 146(3): 306–320. [PDF]

Urban Moth Communities

Aagaard, K., K. Berggren, P.D.N. Hebert, J. Sones, B. McClenaghan, & T. Ekrem, 2017. Investigating suburban micromoth diversity using DNA barcoding of malaise trap samples. Urban Ecosyst. 20: 353–361.

Altermatt, F. & D. Ebert, 2016. Reduced flight-to-light behaviour of moth populations exposed to long-term urban light pollution. Biol. Lett. 12: 20160111.

Bates, A.J., J.P. Sadler, D. Grundy, N. Lowe, G. Davis et al., 2014. Garden and landscape-scale correlates of moths of differing conservation status: significant effects of urbanization and habitat diversity. PLoS One 9(1): e86925.^

Boyes, D.H., D.M. Evans, R. Fox, M.S. Parsons, & M.J.O. Pocock, 2020. Is light pollution driving moth population declines? A review of causal mechanisms across the life cycle. Insect Conserv. Divers. 14(2): 167–187.

Ellis, E.E. & T.L. Wilkinson, 2021. Moth assemblages within urban domestic gardens respond positively to habitat complexity, but only at a scale that extends beyond the garden boundary. Urban Ecosystems 24: 469–479.

Franzén M., P.-E. Betzholtz, L.B. Pettersson, & A. Forsman, 2020. Urban moth communities suggest that life in the city favours thermophilic multi-dimensional generalists. Proc. R. Soc. B 287: 20193014.*

Kadlec, T., M.A.A.M. Kotela, I. Novák, M. Konvička, & V. Jarošík, 2009. Effect of land use and climate on the diversity of moth guilds with different habitat specialization. Community Ecology 10(2): 152–158.

Lintott, P.R., N. Bunnefeld, E. Fuentes-Montemayor, et al., 2014. Moth species richness, abundance and diversity in fragmented urban woodlands: implications for conservation and management strategies. Biodivers. Conserv. 23: 2875–2901.

Merckx, T. & H. Van Dyck, 2019. Urbanization-driven homogenization is more pronounced and happens at wider spatial scales in nocturnal and mobile flying insects. Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 28(10): 1440–1455.*

Plummer, K.E., J.D. Hale, M.J. O’Callaghan, J.P. Sadler, & G.M. Siriwardena, 2016. Investigating the impact of street lighting changes on garden moth communities. J. Urban Ecol. 2(1): juw004.

Rice, A.J. & P.J.T. White, 2015. Community Patterns in Urban Moth Assemblages. J. Lep. Soc. 69(3): 149–156.*

Scalercio, S., P. Brandmayr, N. Iannotta, R. Petacchi, & L. Baccaccio, 2012. Correlations between landscape attributes and ecological traits of Lepidoptera communities in olive groves. Eur. J. Entomol. 109: 207–216.

Slade, E.M., T. Merckx, T. Riutta, D.P. Bebber, D. Redhead, P. Riordan, & D.W. Macdonald, 2013. Life‐history traits and landscape characteristics predict macro‐moth responses to forest fragmentation. Ecology 94(7): 1519–1530.*

Long-Term Changes

Blumgart, D., M.S. Botham, R. Menéndez, & J.R. Bell, 2022. Moth declines are most severe in broadleaf woodlands despite a net gain in habitat availability. Insect Conserv. Divers. 15(5): 496–509.^

Boyes, D.H., R. Fox, C.R. Shortall, & R.J. Whittaker, 2019. Bucking the trend: The diversity of Anthropocene ‘winners’ among British moths. Front. Biogeogr11(3): e43862.^

Burner, R.C., V. Selås, S. Kobro, R.M. Jacobsen, & A. Sverdrup‐Thygeson, 2021. Moth species richness and diversity decline in a 30‐year time series in Norway, irrespective of species’ latitudinal range extent and habitat. J. Insect Conserv. 25: 887–896.

Conrad, K.F., M.S. Warren, R. Fox, M.S. Parsons, I.P. Woiwod, 2006. Rapid declines of common, widespread British moths provide evidence of an insect biodiversity crisis. Biol. Conserv. 132(3): 279–291. [PDF]^

Dennis, E.B., T.M. Brereton, B.J.T. Morgan, R. Fox, C.R. Shortall, T. Prescott, & S. Foster, 2019. Trends and indicators for quantifying moth abundance and occupancy in Scotland. J. Insect Conserv. 23: 369–380.^

Fox, R., 2013. The decline of moths in Great Britain: a review of possible causes. Insect Conserv. Divers. 6(1): 5–19.^

Fox, R., E.B. Dennis, C.A. Harrower, D. Blumgart, J.R. Bell, P. Cook, A.M. Davis, et al., 2021. The State of Britain’s Larger Moths 2021. Butterfly Conservation, Rothamsted Research, and UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wareham, Dorset, UK. 44 pp.^

Fox, R., T.H. Oliver, C. Harrower, M.S. Parsons, C.D. Thomas, & D.B. Roy, 2014. Long-term changes to the frequency of occurrence of British moths are consistent with opposing and synergistic effects of climate and land-use changes. J. Appl. Ecol. 51(4): 949–957.^

Laussmann, T., A. Dahl, & A. Radtke, 2021. Lost and found: 160 years of Lepidoptera observations in Wuppertal (Germany). J. Insect Conserv. 25: 273–285.

Wagner, D.L., R. Fox, D.M. Salcido, & L.A. Dyer, 2021. A window to the world of global insect declines: Moth biodiversity trends are complex and heterogeneous. PNAS 118(2): e2002549117.

Wölfling, M., B. Uhl, & K. Fiedler, 2019. Multi-decadal surveys in a Mediterranean forest reserve – do succession and isolation drive moth species richness? Nature Conserv. 35: 25–40.

Caterpillar Surveys

Abbott, I., T. Burbidge, M. Williams, & P. Van Heurck, 1992. Arthropod fauna of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) foliage in Mediterranean forest of Western Australia: Spatial and temporal variation in abundance, biomass, guild structure and species composition. Aus. J. Ecol. 17(3): 263–274.*

Loeffler, C.C., 1992. Comparative structure of the lepidopteran faunae associated with goldenrods (Solidago spp.) in forests and fields. PhD entomology dissertation at Cornell University. 292 pp.*

Seifert, C.L., L.R. Jorge, M. Volf, D.L. Wagner, G.P.A. Lamarre, S.E. Miller, E. Gonzalez-Akre, K.J. Anderson-Teixeira, & V. Novotný, 2021. Seasonality affects specialisation of a temperate forest herbivore community. Oikos 130(9): 1450–1461.*


Wonderlin, N.E., K. Rumfelt, & P.J.T. White, 2019. Associations between Nocturnal Moths and Flowers in Urban Gardens: Evidence from Pollen on Moths. J. Lep. Soc. 73(3): 173–176.*


Chapman, J.W., J.R. Bell, L.E. Burgin, D.R. Reynolds, L.B. Pettersson, J.K. Hill, M.B. Bonsall, & J.A. Thomas, 2012. Seasonal migration to high latitudes results in major reproductive benefits in an insect. PNAS 109(37): 14924–14929.

Forister, M.L., C.S. Philbin, Z.H. Marion, C.A. Buerkle, C.D. Dodson, J.A. Fordyce, G.W. Forister, S.L. Lebeis, L.K. Lucas, C.C. Nice, & Z. Gompert, 2020. Predicting patch occupancy reveals the complexity of host range expansion. Science Advances 6(48): eabc6852.



This page will eventually have an explanation of how best to identify moths along with the principles of species identification generally. For now, it has two collages illustrating intraspecific variability in forewing markings.

Figure 1. Hypsopygia olinalis (Pyralidae: Pyralinae) photographed on a single night at a single site, 26 June 2022, on Block Island. View full size image.
Figure 2. Macrochilo orciferalis (Erebidae: Herminiinae) photographed on Block Island from 2020 to 2022, all but two at the Hunt property and all but two or three male. View full size image.
Figure 3. Four similar species of Acleris (Tortricidae: Tortricinae) photographed on Block Island. Top left, A. maculidorsana; top row, second from left, A. inana; remainder of first two columns, A. robinsoniana; entire third and fourth columns, A. flavivittana. View full size image.
Figure 4. 121 Euxoa detersa found on Block Island, nearly all at the Hunt property, a representative sample demonstrating the variation in maculation within the population. View full size image.