Second Rare Wildlife Sighting

  • 22nd Oct 2010

Only once recorded in Cornwall in 1948 and considered one of the UK’s largest and rarest Noctuid moths, the Clifden Nonpareil Moth or 'Blue Underwing', was sighted on Tuesday 19th October resting on a gardener’s shed in the Northern Gardens.

This is the second rare wildlife sighting at Heligan since the arrival of the rare Green Heron in the Lost Valley just over two weeks ago! Once the Victorian collector’s classic all-time favourite, the ‘Blue Underwing’ is now only an immigrant species with only a handful of recorded sightings in the UK each year.

Speckly grey/brown in colour and with a wingspan of up to 10.5 centimetres, the Clifden Nonpareil’s initially caught the attention of Heligan’s Wildlife & Estate Manager, Jim Briggs.

“Although relatively well camouflaged against the gardener’s shed it was the size of the moth that made me think it deserved more investigation and we were delighted to have it confirmed as the Clifden Nonpareil Moth and another rare sighting at Heligan!” Jim Briggs

Cornwall Moth Recorder, Tony James who confirmed the sighting, also speculated the possibility that if it were a female moth she may have laid her eggs at Heligan and that we may see some baby ‘Blue Underwings’ in the Spring!

However, since the moth only lays its eggs on either Poplar and Aspen trees and Heligan only has two of either – the Wildlife Team know where to keep a watchful eye!

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