Rare moth seen just four times in 80 years is spotted in Stokey bathroom

PUBLISHED: 08:34 09 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 09 September 2016

The alchymist moth (Photo: Chris Farthing)

The alchymist moth (Photo: Chris Farthing)


An unusual moth spotted in a Stoke Newington bathroom has been identified as the first of its kind ever found in London and only the fourth seen in Britain in the past 80 years.

The alchymist moth (Photo: Chris Farthing)The alchymist moth (Photo: Chris Farthing)

Tony Butler, who works as a volunteer at London Wildlife Trust’s Woodberry Wetlands nature reserve, noticed the rare alchymist moth fly in through a window - and quickly realised it was something special.

The alchymist moth, which has a wingspan of 4.5cm, is usually found in oak-rich woodland in North Africa, Southern and Central Europe and parts of West Asia, but is rare north of the Alps.

This moth is thought to have taken advantage of warm winds blowing up from Europe to cross the English Channel and settle in London.

Photographs taken by wildlife expert Chris Farthing show how it is beautifully camouflaged to resemble bark.

It is hard for predators to spot the moth when it rests on oak trees, on which the moth’s larvae feed in the summer and early autumn.

Woodberry Wetlands runs a moth group as well as butterfly and moth identification courses during the summer. See the wetlands website or call 020 8802 4573 for more information.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Hackney Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Hackney Gazette