I received an exciting message via Twitter from Emma Allen a few weeks ago. Attached to the message was a picture of a moth that had been found in Mill Road - a moth with a blue flash on its underwing.
Around Lewes you'll find moths with yellow underwings, orange underwings and red underwings but a flash of blue is unique. This moth is the Clifden nonpareil - the blue underwing. Throughout history this moth because of its rarity, beauty and size has attained near mythical status. Finding this migrant moth would be a once in a lifetime experience for a naturalist. Indeed the only records of a Clifden nonpareil in Lewes are from 1880, 1895 and 1925. It hasn't been seen here again until now.
The unusual name comes from Clifden (the location in Buckinghamshire where it was first discovered) and nonpareil meaning ‘without equal’
Recently there have been more reports from Sussex (particularly the far east of the county) and it seems the moth has made a return to England. Emma's sighting is a great record and it's good to see this beautiful moth back in Lewes after almost 90 years.