Thursday 14 November 2019

Moth populations in steady decline in Britain, study finds

Long-running survey finds 1976 heatwave boom has been followed by dropping numbers.

Moths are declining in abundance by 10% each decade in Britain but the average weight of moths caught in traps is still double what it was in 1967, according to a new study.

Researchers studying the biomass of moths caught in the world’s longest-running insect survey said their findings suggested that if there had been an “insect armageddon” in Britain, it had occurred before scientific recording began in 1967.

Rather than a precipitous recent decline, scientists at the University of York found that moth populations had boomed following the 1976 heatwave – and moth biomass today was still twice as high as 1967 levels – but there had been a steady decline in abundance since 1982.

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