A moth which hasn’t been seen in Northern Ireland for more than 120 years has been discovered in a back garden in the Mourne Mountains.

The Beautiful Brocade was found on the 14th June by Butterfly Conservation’s Regional Officer for Northern Ireland, Catherine Bertrand and is the first confirmed record of the moth in the country since 1893.

The Beautiful Brocade is pinkish grey with a marbled appearance and can be identified by a white diagonal band crossing its forewing, which resembles a ‘V’ shape when at rest. This is the only marking which distinguishes it from similar species such as the Pale-shouldered Brocade and the Dog’s Tooth moth.

Often found in woodland, moorland or heathland areas, the moth should be on the wing until next month.

Catherine made the discovery in her moth trap while monitoring other garden species for Butterfly Conservation.Catherine Bertrand and her moth trap

She said: “I was doing my regular garden moth trap when I noticed an odd moth, which I didn’t recognise. I took it to our Branch Moth Officer, Andy Crory, who got rather excited and after a bit of research confirmed it was the Beautiful Brocade. It was a fantastic moment to know we were looking at something that hadn’t been seen for 121 years!”

Andy Crory said: “I just couldn’t believe it at first. We knew of the potential for this moth to linger in the Mournes, but it’s not been seen for such a long time. It goes to show that anyone can stumble across these long lost species”.

He added: “With National Moth Night coming up in just over two weeks’ time, we’ll be hoping the Beautiful Brocade puts in another appearance. The Northern Ireland Branch is holding several events all around the country, so if anyone wants to find out more about these amazing insects, they should come along.”

National Moth Night is an annual celebration of moth recording throughout Britain and Ireland, with enthusiasts holding local events to raise awareness of moths. Running from Thursday 3rd of July until Saturday 5th of July, it is jointly organised by Lepidoptera journal Atropos and Butterfly Conservation.

For more information on National Moth Night events organised by Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland and to post moth sightings or photos, visit the Branch Facebook page