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Cnephasia pumicana
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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
registered charity
no 1113963
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Visit Our Centre

EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkOur centre is available for visits on a pre-booked basis on Wednesdays between 10am - 4pm. The Club’s activities and displays are also usually open to the public on the first Saturday of the month 11am - 4pm.

Essex Glow-worm Survey

The Glow-worm Lampyris noctiluca (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) has a widespread but distinctly local distribution in Britain, apparently being more abundant in southern England, especially on areas of chalk downland.  This species is predominantly a grassland insect, although it occurs in other habitats such as hedgerows and open woodlands.  The status of Glow-worms in Britain is poorly documented; Mating Glow-worms Copyright: Mike Wrighthowever, some efforts have been made to ascertain its national distribution. The earliest of these was a survey conducted by the British Naturalists Association (BNA) in the 1960s and early 1970s.  It was from this initial survey that a decline in the British Glow-worm population was first suspected; with many recorders noting an apparent fall in numbers.  In 1991/92, a survey was launched by Robin Scagell link, with the aim of both revisiting the sites identified by the BNA survey and investigating previously unrecorded ones. 

Photo: Mating Glow-worms, female being attended by winged males, credit Mike Wright

However, much of the evidence for a decline in the British Glow-worm population collected by the British Naturalists Association and the UK Glow-worm survey is anecdotal and long-term studies on the abundance of glow-worms on individual sites are rare.  In an attempt to scientifically document any decline in the abundance of this species in Essex, the Essex Glow-worm Survey was initiated in 2001.  As part of this survey, members of the public were asked to establish a transect at a known colony and to monitor the abundance of glowing females, using a standardised method, for a number of years.

New Essex Glow-worm book published by the British Naturalists' Association

Glowing, glowing, gone? The Plight of the Glow-worm in Essex by Tim Gardiner

The aim of this book to present the results of the standardised survey of glow-worm distribution and abundance in Essex which started in 2001. It is believed that the survey is one of the first serious attempts in Europe to combine analysis of the distribution of glow-worms throughout a geographical area, with long-term monitoring of abundance to determine whether they are declining across a range of sites. The book is written with both amateur naturalist and professional ecologist in mind and is a fairly easy read. The book is A5 format and is 80 pages long with colour photographs. More information including a look at the front cover and ordering details can be obtained from the BNA website (