Rare moth marks return to Brecon Beacons National Park for first time in a century

The Narrowed-bordered Bee Hawk-moth looks exactly as its name suggests.

It looks part bee and part moth.

And it’s one of the rarest moths to fly in Wales.

But this summer, the charity Butterfly Conservation reports the species has been spotted in Brecon Beacons National Park for the first time in 100 years.


George Tordoff, senior conservation officer for Butterfly Conservation Wales, said a warm summer in 2018, followed by a good spring created ideal conditions for the moth to flourish.

“This moth was once widely recorded in the UK, but has undergone a substantial decline over recent decades, so it’s heartening to see it having such a good year in Wales,” he said in a statement.

The Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth was previously found on 12 sites across Wales.

Four new sites have been recording sightings this year including Cwm Cadlan National Nature Reserve in the Brecon Beacons.

It has also been seen at two new locations in Carmarthenshire, including Pembrey Forest and near Pontyberem.

And, another confirmed sighting at Lavernock Point in Glamorgan this summer was the first in the area since 1935.

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth photographed at Cwm Cadlan in 2019. Photo: Ben Williams/Butterfly Conservation

It is a day-flying moth.

And it has a “distinctive bumblebee-mimic,” according to Butterfly Conservation.

The day-flying moth has a yellow and black abdomen and transparent wings, which have well-defined black-coloured veins running through them. Photo: Butterfly Conservation

Conservationists hope the moth will be able to reestablish itself in the region.

“The moth shares the same habitat as the Marsh Fritillary butterfly and Butterfly Conservation has been doing lots of work to restore marshy grasslands for this species in Wales and other parts of the UK,” Tordoff added. “So hopefully this will help the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth turn the corner and start to spread again.”

It’s a long name for a cool little moth.

Main photo Butterfly Conservation

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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