Worcestershire Record No. 1 1996 p. 2


by Tony Simpson

Since 1992 I have been acting as Worcestershire recorder for the National Lepidoptera Scheme run by Paul Waring and with Dr Michael Harper, who is the Herefordshire recorder, I have been collecting records, both personally and from a number of recorders, for all Moths and Butterflies, including the smaller moths (microlepidoptera) from Watsonian Vice-county 37 (Worcestershire). I have inherited all the late Jack Green's records and I have been looking at old literature records and specimens in the Worcester Museum many of which date from Victorian times.

The last Lepidoptera lists published for either county were the Victoria County History ones just after the turn of the century. Therefore there is obviously a need to publish modern lists which look likely to be out around the millenium - about one hundred years after the last ones!

After the Great War there seems to have been very little recording in the inter-war years, but there has been a steadily increasing amount of interest in all our Natural History and we hope to be able to give a reasonably good account of the status and distribution of our Lepidoptera over the last quarter of the century, as well as being able to illustrate the many changes in the fauna over the past hundred years, mostly unfortunately not for the better!

We now have a huge number of records on a card index system and it may be necessary to computerise these, and the present interest in millenium funds to get a Biological Recording Scheme off the ground may be helpful here. We are looking at about 1300 species of Lepidoptera in the county, so the amount of data is formidable, but there would be great conservation benefit to be able to readily identify the sites and status of rare and unusual species, both nationally and locally. Such information would help the Wildlife Trusts, English Nature, and all the bodies involved in Planning when it came to trying to conserve what is left of our countryside. Although information is available on Vertebrates and Botany little notice is taken of Invertebrate conservation at present, often because unless it involves some showy Butterfly, there is little or no information. Also changes in status and distribution of invertebrates are often a good indicators of environmental and climatic change and sometimes of impending disaster!

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