Vermont has not benefited from a formal statewide moth survey. Instead, this atlas draws on more than 100 years worth of recorded observations, including a new wave of backyard moth watching.
The spark for this atlas was a landmark publication published in 1995 -- Moths and Butterflies of Vermont: A Faunal Checklist. With hundreds of new moth species documented in Vermont thanks to the tireless efforts of both professional and amateur lepidopterists, it is time for a place to tally all of our results.
The Vermont Atlas of Life, with the aid of many volunteers across Vermont, has been mapping moth distribution and phenology one photo-observation at a time. Since 2013, biologists and naturalists have contributed moth observations to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Many of us turn on special lights in our backyards on summer nights to find hundreds of moths and other insects gathering on white sheets, hunt fields and forest for day-flying moths, and place rotten fruit bait out to attract other moths. Many of these moths can be identified from good photographs (although some are impossible without dissection and examination under a microscope). With today’s amazing digital photography technology, coupled with the newer Peterson’s Field Guide to Northeastern Moths and web sites like iNaturalist, BugGuide, Moth Photographers Group, or Moths of Eastern North America Facebook Group, moth watching (aka mothing) has become increasingly popular.
Two amazing naturalists, Laura Gaudette and JoAnne Russo, have become moth fanatics and experts over the years and have been leading the charge here in Vermont in documenting moths and encouraging others. Earlier this year, they created a collection project that automatically gathers and presents all Vermont moth data from iNaturalist in one easy place – Vermont Moths on iNaturalist. If you put a moth record in the Vermont Atlas of Life project on iNaturalist, or anywhere in iNaturalist – Vermont Moths will tally it.
We invite you to join the Vermont Atlas of Life and the Vermont Moth collection project on iNaturalist and contribute your observations too. Or just visit to see what are the top observed species, who has the most observations or the most species. Also check out the map to find areas that are under-reported. Vermont has an incredible diversity of moths and an incredible group of iNaturalist citizen scientists!