By Phoebe Hogan
A DUNMANWAY man has had a sighting of an unusual and very rare moth in his garden.
Tom Jordan of Dromerk, Dunmanway, photographed an exotic humming-bird hawk moth in his garden on the morning of September 26th.
This was Mr Jordan’s first time seeing this particular moth species. He then saw the moth return to his garden again the next morning, which is, in fact, a common enough quirk of the insect. Mr Jordan said he has always been interested in nature and likes to observe it at its finest.
Humming-bird hawk moths are orange-brown in colour and tend to live only in warm climates like Southern Europe and North Africa. This is why it was so strange for him to see one on a crisp morning in Ireland, he pointed out.
‘They are called humming-bird hawk moths because of their ability to beat their wings 80 times per second,’ he said. ‘This allows the insect to stay hovering while it drinks the nectar out of flowers.’
Sightings of these rare moths are considered to be a good omen, or a sign of good luck, according to tradition, said Mr Jordan. He added that a small swarm of these moths was famously seen crossing the English Channel on the eve of D-Day in June 1944.
The rising winter and summer temperatures may entice more and more of these moths and other exotic species to stay in Ireland permanently, Mr Jordan explained. Experts say that humming-bird hawk moths pose no threat to humans as they have no stingers, neither do they pose a threat to our native insects and they can help with flower pollination, like bees can.