Do you know your Cinnabar from your Brimstone moths? Your Buff Tip from your Angle Shades?

Far from being the dull relatives of butterflies, moths are amongst our most vibrant and interesting insects, with over 2500 species in the UK. Each year the public and volunteers across the country snap photos of moths they encounter and tell others what they’ve seen. Scientists and wildlife conservationists rely on data on moth sightings shared by the public and volunteers across the UK. We’re on a mission to introduce more people to the UK’s most recognisable moths.

Complete our free online course, produced with moth experts, to learn and gain certified moth ID skills. By getting to know the names of moths you can better appreciate the wildlife in your area, contribute better data to citizen science surveys and take first steps to becoming an ID volunteer! This new ID course is for absolute beginners to moth spotting and naming. We’ll focus on a handful of the most distinctive and commonly seen moths. You will learn the appearance and characteristics of these moths, how to spot them and tell them apart from similar kinds using photographs.

  • 1 Module online course for adults, with a time commitment of 3-5 hours per module.
  • Access to study content, activities and auto-graded assignments through the FSC virtual learning platform.
  • Access to a live virtual classroom session on Mon 12 Sep 2022 at 13.00 with the course tutor through Zoom (recorded for those that are unable to attend the live sessions).
  • E-certificate upon course completion.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

What topics are covered in this course?

  • BAM205 Distinctive Moths Learn about the ecology and identification features of some of the more distinctive moths found within the UK. We’ll include tips on distinguishing these from potential confusion species and finish the module with an identification photo test to test your identification skills.

Course fees

Regular Price: £5 Not currently available

Subsidised Price: Free   Subsidised by the Supporting Science (Butterfly Conservation) and FSC BioLinks (Field Studies Council) projects for all UK residents until 30th November 2022. Book via Eventbrite.

Tutor: Rachael Conway

A self-described latecomer to the world of biological science, Rachael is keen to encourage more people to identify and record wildlife. Rachael has worked for Butterfly Conservation for 5 years, previously as Engagement Officer supporting volunteers to get involved in recording, monitoring, and surveying. Now Supporting Science Officer, Rachael is a champion of the team approach to verification making use of iRecord to develop skills, promote succession, and to support County Recorders with an ever-increasing workload.

Rachael is a member of the Northern Ireland Butterfly Verification Committee and facilitates their team, including the training of verification assistants to use iRecord to verify the easier species. Rachael is a volunteer for several community projects which manage land for wildlife and she personally uses iRecord to collate her records of the animal and plant species she discovers.

Tutor: Keiron Brown

Keiron Derek Brown first became interested in invertebrates during a field-based entomology module at university and went on to volunteer on soil biodiversity research projects at the Natural History Museum (London). This included sorting samples of invertebrates to order level and sampling invertebrates across the New Forest in Hampshire and the Malaysian rainforests of Borneo.

In his spare time, he is the national recorder for earthworms (running the National Earthworm Recording Scheme on behalf of the Earthworm Society of Britain) and the Chair of the Ecology & Entomology section of the London Natural History Society. Keiron now manages the FSC BioLinks project, with the aim of inspiring amateur naturalists to take up the identification and recording of invertebrate groups that are often forgotten and rarely recorded. The courses Keiron teaches include Discovering iRecord, Identifying Terrestrial Invertebrates with Microscopes and our various earthworm courses.

Live virtual classroom session dates and times

There will be a single live webinar taking place as part of this course:

  • Identifying Distinctive Moths Webinar - Mon 12 Sep 2022 1.00 PM - 1.45 PM

Example Timetable

Self-study material: available from 02/09/2022 at 9.00 AM

Live webinar: 12/09/2022 at 1.00 PM (Recording of live webinar added to self-study content for students not available to attend or joining the course after this date)

Students are able to complete the content in their own time. The course should take a maximum of 5 hours to complete. The deadline for completing all content and activities is 30 Nov 2022.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Access to study content and auto-grading activities through the FSC virtual learning platform.
  • Access to a live virtual classroom session with the course tutor through Zoom (recorded for those that are unable to attend the live session or join the course after the date of the webinar).
  • E-certificate upon course completion.

Bursaries and Subsidies

This course was designed in partnership between the Field Studies Council and Butterfly Conservation.

Supporting Science Project (Butterfly Conservation)

Supporting Science is a new project from Butterfly Conservation that will help support both new and established recorders of moths and butterflies. It will provide training and new web-based tools to progress both the collection and verification of data.

The project will also help engage a much wider and diverse range of people in collecting and submitting information about their local butterfly and moth populations.

Supporting Science has been made possible thanks to DCMS and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. We are also grateful to The Henry C. Hoare Charitable Trust, Sophia Webster Ltd. and The Lochlands Trust for their generous support.

FSC BioLinks (Field Studies Council)

FSC BioLinks is an exciting project for FSC in the South East and West Midlands, bringing together existing volunteers with skills in biological recording and identification, and new volunteers.

This project provides subsidised training courses, learning opportunities and digital tools focussed on invertebrate identification for anyone involved or interested in biological recording, to build and strengthen the community.

Invertebrates provide us with many useful ecosystem services, like pollination and decomposition, which we cannot survive without but their numbers are declining. Few people know how to identify or record invertebrates meaning there is a lack of data

We are delighted to have been awarded a grant of £1.23 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this project.

Before You Attend

Once you've signed up to the course you'll receive an e-mail with access to the virtual learning platform (Moodle) a week before the first webinar (prior to the time and date that the self-study content becomes available).

Log on as soon as you can to familiarise yourself with the platform and course materials, and be sure to complete the first activities before the first webinar.

Webinars are delivered through Zoom, so you don't need to download any additional software to attend - just click the link just before the meeting is due to start and it will open in your web browser.