To All Massachusetts Moth Enthusiasts:

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A small group of Lepidopterists (listed below) got together a couple of years ago with the aim of compiling a provisional list of moths known to exist in the State of Massachusetts. This has now been completed and we kindly request anyone with experience of the moth fauna of the State to check through this list to look for any species we might have missed. As stated, the list is provisional and several species need to be checked based on original material present in collections, or other documented evidence. Any help with this aspect of the project is welcome. The macro-moths are probably fairly complete, but it is clear that micro-moths can still be added.


Beyond producing a provisional list, we would like to propose the more ambitious project of setting up a central database of all known Massachusetts records of moths. Many of these are currently distributed among various online databases and websites, but the largest chunk is in public and private collections (of specimens and photos), notebooks and the entomological literature.

This database could serve many purposes, but primarily it would help us to estimate the status (historical and current) of each species in the State, including abundance, distribution, phenology and habitat requirement. It would also help us to identify areas which have historically not been covered and species which have not been found for many years.

Although many details of the project have still to be worked out, we invite anyone to provide records in the format given in the attached Excel sheet. Records should preferably include the precise coordinates, but at the very least the town. This will enable the construction of more precise distribution maps as well as county maps. Precise dates are also important and these should be linked to the stage in which the moth was found (i.e. egg, larva, pupa or adult).  If we have sufficient data at the county level, we may publish the systematic list with the distribution at the county level summarized in table form. Any such publication will acknowledge all contributors by name. Any publication (in the literature or on the web) of more precise data will not be done without the permission of the owner of the data.

All feedback is welcome.

Best regards,

Mark Mello (South Dartmouth, MA)
Dan Zimberlin (Warwick, RI)
Steven Whitebread (Quincy, MA)

For more information or to get involved, please contact Mark Mello at either 508-990-050 x22 or