Simple protocol for monitoring moths

  • Before photographing moths --
    1. Set up an album on Discover Life
      If you don't already have one, see and email .
    2. Choose site and light source
      You can use your porch light(s). We recommend 100-watt compact fluorescent, bright white bulbs. If you have one, also use a black light. A location far from other light sources is best.

  • On nights you photograph --
    1. Turn on the light(s) before dark
    2. Photograph your cell phone
      so that we can verify the date and time on your camera.
    3. Document your location
      If it is the first time you've taken photos for Discover Life at the site, photograph a landmark or, better yet, a GPS reading. Good landmarks are buildings, street signs, mail boxes, and trail head markers.
    4. Photograph each light and the moths on the surrounding background
      This helps us estimate moth abundance.
    5. Photograph every species of moth each night
      As late in the evening as you can, or before dawn, take a close-up photograph of each species. If you are unsure of an identification, especially if you are a beginner, take a photograph of every moth.
    6. Turn off the light at least 30 minutes before dawn
      so that the moths fly away and don't get eaten by birds.

  • Final steps --
    1. Upload your photos
    2. Edit information on where you took them
    3. Help us identify your moths (optional)
      Once identified, species are automatically added to your life list, maps and our seasonal graphs. Job done. Thank you!
Updated: 3 October, 2012