Records are accepted in any format but the preferred method of submission is a Mapmate file. Mapmate is a software programme developed especially for natural history recording. It is cheap and easy to use and more details can be found on the Mapmate website at www.mapmate.co.uk. Current purchase cost is £25, with a £12 annual licence fee to cover continual updates to features and taxonomic data.
In 2006 over 120,000 moth records were received for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and all are held on the Butterfly Conservation Branch database. The number of moth recorders in the county now means that it is far too much for an individual or even a small team of recorders to enter the records so it is only by individuals entering their own records that the system can be maintained. Having said that, if records are submitted by email, hard copy or as an excel spreadsheet they will all be entered onto Mapmate. Please ensure that the following information is submitted for each record, and if sent as an excel file please put one record on each line with these items along the top row:
Please note that it is extremely time-consuming to convert excel spreadsheets submitted in tabular form with the dates across the top and species name down the left, into a usable format so please do not submit them like this. However, If there is no alternative to submitting them in this format, for example where this is the only method used for historical records, then they should be submitted to Mike Wall (email address below) to convert and upload. The spreadsheet must relate to (a) one site only - which is clearly defined at the top of the spreadsheet with grid reference, (b) the dates should be in the format dd/mm/yyyy, (c) the species should be clearly identified, preferably including B&F number, down the left side and (d) the area containing quantities should contain just that - numbers and no other characters.
Note also that it is convention when light trapping to use the (evening) date of putting out the trap and not the morning date when it is opened and checked.
If you are new to Mapmate then please read the start-up instructions (in rtf format - will be readable in any word processing application) here. If you need further help getting set up please do not hesitate to ask Tim Norriss (contact details below).
When submitting records or entering your records onto Mapmate please always err on the side of caution in your identifications. Beginners should note that there are several difficult species groups that can only safely be determined by dissection of the genitalia.
There many other groups and pairings where great care is needed and careful consultation of the literature until you are familiar with all the salient identification features, and remember that there can be great variation within a species and between the sexes of a species. Websites can also be a good source of photographs and information but remember that these come with a health warning as there can be more errors than within books. Reference to more than a single source is strongly advised.
Click this link for identification guidelines to the more difficult species and species groups.
In addition to those highlighted under the above link, many of the micros, rarer migrants, rarer residents or pugs will need verification by someone familiar with the species either by producing the specimen or a good quality photograph. The use of digital cameras has transformed the verification process but it should be borne in mind that species cannot always be identified with certainty from a photograph and it is always best to err on the side of safety in your recording. It is always best to retain any moth for which the identification is uncertain - even if a photograph has been taken - until it has been identified with certainty.
You are recommended to use the Hantsmoths Yahoo email newsgroup for local moth news and to keep in touch with other moth-ers in your area.
County macro-recorder: identification
queries and central co-ordinator of the Hampshire hub:
County micro-recorder, Mapmate
recording hub and webmaster of hantsmoths.org.uk: