The holy grail of our native moths


To celebrate the 20th year of National Moth Night, we acquired expert David Brown to run a moth trapping evening at Wappenbury Wood.

Whilst butterflies are widely loved and appreciated, moths unfortunately don’t receive the same limelight as a result of their largely nocturnal life, so we wanted to put moths on the map making people aware of their importance in our ecosystem. National Moth Night is a scheduled couple of nights in the year to introduce moths to new audiences, share knowledge on their ecology/ conservation and to encourage their study. Light traps were running for many hours in the night, attracting a variety of different species, including the holy grail of our native moths, the Clifden nonpareil.

This is the first recording of a Clifden nonpareil for this nature reserve and a fabulous moth to see. It was believed to have become extinct in the 1960s so moth enthusiasts were excited to see one at our event. It has a large wingspan, reaching almost 12cm across, and a vivid blue stripe on its hindwings. Also known as Blue Underwing, the name Clifden nonpareil mean ‘beyond compare’. There have now been a number of sightings in counties from Cornwall and Devon up to Norfolk and Northamptonshire, so those attending our event were optimistic of seeing one. Conservationists now believe there are established resident populations and that it is breeding across southern Britain.

The event was a very sociable occasion, where a variety of people in the local community got involved in this rare opportunity! Moth Night 2020 will take place on the nights of Thursday 27 – Saturday 29th August, so put those dates in your diary!