larvae (above right) often closely resemble lepidopteran caterpillars, but have many more pairs of prolegs.
Analysis of the considerable available data on lepidoptera sightings has shown that some species have increased in numbers and distribution over the last 30 years. However the number of species of butterflies and moths that have declined over that period is greater than those that have increased. Habitat loss (land use change) and fragmentation of suitable habitat are important contributory causes in this loss, although climate change is now having some effect, especially on north-south distribution patterns.
Other sources of information
State of Britains' Butterflies report
The State of Britain’s larger moths report
Fox, R., Asher, J., Brereton, T., Roy, D. & Warren, M. (2006) The state of butterflies in Britain and Ireland. Pisces Books
Goater, B. (1986) British Pyralid Moths. Harley Books
Hart, C. (2011) British Plume Moths. British Entomological and Natural History Society
May, P. (editor) (2014) A Handbook for Lepidopterists. Amateur Entomologists’ Society
Newland, D., Still, R. & Swash, A. (2019) Britain’s Day-flying Moths. WildGuides Ltd 2nd edition
Newland, D., Still, R., Tomlinson, D. & Swash, A. (2010) Britain’s Butterflies. WildGuides Ltd
Porter, J. (2010) Colour Identification Guide to the Caterpillars of the British Isles. Apollo Books
Skinner, B. (2009) Colour Identification Guide to the Moths of the British Isles. Apollo Books
Sterling, P. & Parsons, M. (2012) Field Guide to the Micro-moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publications
Townsend, M. & Waring, P. (2007) Concise Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publications
Page drafted by Andrew Halstead, reviewed by Andrew Salisbury, edited by Steve Head