As you might think there are a lot of books on moths and a
selection is listed below. It is by no means exhaustive but gives a flavour of
what the macro recorders have to hand including some books we use for micro id.
For beginners we recommend buying Waring & Townsend (the 2nd
edition) and then if money allows Skinner (3rd edition) will help you move on in
your id skills. Manley is a useful introduction to micro moths in addition to
the macros though only a few of each family are illustrated.
Identification of Macro-moths
Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain & Ireland by
Paul Waring & Martin Townsend (1st ed. 2003, 2nd ed. 2009)
This is available in both softback and hardback and is an excellent book
especially for the beginner as it shows the moths in their natural resting
Concise Guide to the moths of
Great Britain & Ireland by Paul Waring & Martin Townsend
This was published at the end of May 2007 and is a spiral bound version
of the above with condensed text and is excellent value.
Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles
by Bernard Skinner (1st ed. 1984, 2nd ed. 1998, 3rd ed. 2009)
This shows the species as pinned specimens - very useful if you want to see
the hindwing pattern as well. The 3rd edition has extra colour plates and the
plates are reproduced much better than in either of the other two editions.
British Moths & Butterflies - a photographers guide by
Chris Manley (2009)
A useful book to complement Waring & Townsend and Skinner
British and Irish Pug Moths by Adrian M. Riley & Gaston
A book targeting this difficult species group - not perfect but can be
helpful though Andy prefers Vol. 4 of The Geometrid moths of Europe by V.
Mironov as the dissection plates are excellent.
A Revised Handbook of British Lepidoptera by Edward
Meyrick (1927, reprinted 1968)
No plates but useful keys and identification descriptions.
Conifer Moths of The British Isles by Jon Clifton & Jim
A comprehensive identification guide to macro and micro moths that feed
exclusively on coniferous trees & shrubs. Covers 108 species
Identification of Macro & Micro-moths
The Moths & Butterflies of Great Britain & Ireland
(Harley Books - 1980's onwards)
This useful but expensive series is not complete yet but with the retirement of
Basil Harley the project has been taken on by Apollo Books and should now be
completed. There are currently 9 volumes of which at least one volume is out of print now.
Species groups not covered so far and keenly awaited include the Plumes,
Geometrids & Tortrix moths.
Identification of Micro-moths
British Pyralid moths a Guide to their Identification by
This really is an excellent introduction to the Pyralid moths - the largest
of the micros and those most often assumed to be macros.
British Tortricoid Moths by J.D. Bradley, W.G. Tremewan, and A. Smith (Hardcover
Printed in two volumes one of which is extremely expensive now secondhand
but you can get it all on a CDROM published by The Ray Society which is far
Tortricidae of Europe by Jozef Razowski (2 volumes 2002)
Expensive but useful - this includes all the European species so can be
Bird Dropping Tortrix Moths of The British Isles by Jon Clifton & Jim Wheeler
A comprehensive guide to these small moths whose markings mimic bird
droppings. Covers 59 species.
Pyraloidea of Europe / Europas by Frantisek Slamka (Vol1 2006, Vol2 2008)
The first volume was published in late 2006 and is not of as much relevance
in the UK as volume 2 on Crambinae & Schoenobinae
British Plume Moths by Colin Hart (2011)
A superb book on this family of micro-moths. A must have for anyone wanting
to identify and/or study this group.
Macro-moth Caterpillar ID
The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British Isles by Jim
A useful book though generally only one instar is illustrated and some
species can change considerably as they grow.
Foodplant List for the Caterpillars of Britain's Butterflies and Larger Moths
by Tim Crafer (2005)
A very useful resource listing the species known to feed on each
County moth atlasses
The Butterflies and Moths of Bedfordshire by VW Arnold, CRB Baker, DV
Manning & IP Woiwod (1997)
What can we say - if you are mothing in Bedfordshire you should have a copy
- if you don't, since it is out of print then hunt one down as it is so useful!!
The Moths of Hertfordshire by Colin Plant (2008)
The Moths of Essex by Brian Goodey (2004)
The Larger Moths of the London Area by Colin Plant (1993)
Enjoying Moths by Roy Leverton (2001)
Lots of interesting information and hints etc.
Checklist of Lepidoptera recorded from the British Isles by J.D.Bradley
Lists all the species in what is known as the Bradley Fletcher numerical
order giving synonyms and previous names.
The Scientific Names of the British Lepidoptera, their history and meaning by
A. Maitland Emmet (1991)
If you wonder what lies behind the scientific names then you will find this
a fascinating read.
Practical Hints for the Field Lepidopterist by JW Tutt (1905-1908, reprinted
This book was originally published in 3 volumes and lists by month what you
can go out and find. The tips for looking for early stages such as larvae are
Flora of Bedfordshire by Chris Boon, Alan Outen et al (2011)
A comprehensive study of the flowering plants, trees and bryophytes of the
county. Essential for anyone interested in foodplants for leps etc.