Macro moths verification

Those of you who identify micro moths will be well aware of the verification guidelines, using grades 1-4, that have been published and are applied to all records before entry on the national database.

What is not so well known is that there similar guidelines for macro moths, again using grades 1-4, which are entered on to the national database.

A complete set of these guidelines is available here:

Macro-moth Verification Grading taken from the NBN Record Cleaner

These guidelines have also been incorporated into our templates which you can find on our How to submit page.

Of particular importance are some of the grade 4 species (that requirie gen. det.) which are also amongst our commoner species. These are listed below:

November Moth
Pale November Moth  Please use 70.1071 for aggs

Dark Dagger
Grey Dagger (unless larvae) Please use 73.0381 for aggs

Saltern Ear
Large Ear
Ear Moth
Crinan Ear  Please use 73.1281 for aggs

Common Rustic
Lesser Common Rustic   Please use 73.1691 for aggs

Marbled Minor
Tawny Marbled Minor
Rufous Minor  Please use 73.1731 for aggs

We have been able to get a small number of moths gen. det’d at Sandwich in the last couple of years. Despite picking the smallest, blackest, Rustics with the whitest marks they have all been Common Rustic so far.
Despite picking the smallest rusty-tinged Minors they have all been Marbled Minors so far.

In Kent only a few recorders actually report Lesser Common Rustic and that is not based on gen. det. Only one or two have reported Pale November and there have only been two Rufous Minors. Similar findings have been recorded elsewhere in the country.

Although we all want to put a name to everything we just have to accept that sometimes we have to use agg. I would not want to have to gen.det. every Common Rustic type moth and so even if I do get some gen.dets. the rest will be agg.

Sometimes our desire to ‘be accurate’ can lead to false results.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you need any further advice.