The Rothamsted Insect Survey has operated a Great Britain-wide network of light-traps since 1968. From these data we estimated the first ever national abundance indices and 35-year population trends for 338 species of common macro-moths. Although the number of trap sites which run each year is not constant, there is a representative, well-distributed core of traps that have run for ≥ 15 years. The proportion of operating sites catching a species and the annual geometric mean catch of successful traps were used to provide estimates of species range and absolute abundance. T, an index of long-term population trends, was used to compare trends among species. T was not biased by trap site turnover. The percentage of species displaying significant decreases (54%) was more than double that displaying increases (22%). Species found throughout Great Britain are decreasing most rapidly in the south and especially the southeast but species with a southerly distribution are increasing. Results of a preliminary overview suggest habitat and climate change may both play a role in changing species dynamics. The existence of estimates of abundances and trends for such a large species pool opens the way for much further research, linking trends with land-use changes, climate change and inter-specific dynamics.
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Conrad, K.F., Woiwod, I.P., Parsons, M. et al. Long-term population trends in widespread British moths. Journal of Insect Conservation 8, 119–136 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JICO.0000045810.36433.c6