Ten of the Worlds Rarest Species of Moths and Where to Find Them

We have already seen some of the worlds rarest butterflies, but moths are something that can be just as beautiful and of course just as rare. Don’t expect to see any of these ten moths hoving around a streetlight, because they are just a small selection of the worlds rarest moths and while they might not be the most amazing looking, they are still worthy of our attention…


 

A Butterfly (Hesperia Busiris)
A Butterfly (Hesperia Busiris)

A Butterfly (Scientific name: Hesperia Busiris)

Yes, that really is its name, because it was thought to be a rare butterfly for years, before being properly identified. A conservation campaign was also set up to save this rare “butterfly”, that was one of the worlds rarest moths all along.

The Lymantrine Moth (Lymantriinae)
The Lymantrine Moth (Lymantriinae)

The Lymantrine Moth (Scientific name: Lymantriinae)

While there are many moths in the “Lymantriinae” family of moths this is one of the rarest and of course, it is also transparent which is very rare when it comes to moths anyway, let alone the species low numbers.

The Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (Scientific name: Hemaris tityus)
The Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (Scientific name: Hemaris tityus)

The Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (Scientific name: Hemaris tityus)

You don’t need me to tell you how this moth got its name, but what you might not know is that is has been recently seen on the Brecon Beacons National Park where I live, right here in Wales, UK. This year was the first time that has happened, but elsewhere in the world, it is more common.

The Crimson-Speckled Flunkey Moth (Scientific name: Utetheisa pulchella)
The Crimson-Speckled Flunkey Moth (Scientific name: Utetheisa pulchella)

The Crimson-Speckled Flunkey Moth (Scientific name: Utetheisa pulchella)

This is another moth that might be quite common elsewhere, but here in the UK, it is thought there are less than 100 pairs and that makes it a rare sight indeed. Like all moths only coming out at night also hampers counting the species for conservation purposes.

The Oleander Hawk-Moth (Scientific name: Daphnis Nerii)
The Oleander Hawk-Moth (Scientific name: Daphnis Nerii)

The Oleander Hawk-Moth (Scientific name: Daphnis Nerii)

Not only is this species considered one of the rarest in the world it is also highly toxic to other animals. While other animals to tend to leave it alone it is us humans invading its natural habitats that mean its numbers are dropping year on year.

The Atlas Moth (Scientific name: Attacus atlas)
The Atlas Moth (Scientific name: Attacus atlas)

The Atlas Moth (Scientific name: Attacus atlas)

It might be the worlds biggest species of moth (with a wingspan measuring between 25–30 cm – 9.8–11.8 in), but it is also endangered because of how prized it is to collectors. While conservation efforts are underway this large species future doesn’t look good and is probably reliant on captive breeding to increase its numbers.

The Madagascan Sunset Moth (Scientific Name: Chrysiridia rhipheus)
The Madagascan Sunset Moth (Scientific Name: Chrysiridia rhipheus)

The Madagascan Sunset Moth (Scientific Name: Chrysiridia rhipheus)

This is another moth that is highly toxic to other animals due to the plants it eats as a caterpillar, but it is also one of the worlds only day-flying moths which make it quite easy to be caught by collectors. As far as I know, there are currently no conservation efforts to save this rare species.

The Garden Tiger Moth (Scientific Name: Arctia caja)
The Garden Tiger Moth (Scientific Name: Arctia caja)

The Garden Tiger Moth (Scientific Name: Arctia caja)

This moth is only found in a small, single valley in Pennsylvania and is thought to probably be the worlds rarest moth, but the good news is this is a protected species with conservation efforts well underway to protect it and increase its numbers.

The Euonymus Leaf Notcher (Scientific Name: Pryeria sinica)
The Euonymus Leaf Notcher (Scientific Name: Pryeria sinica)

The Euonymus Leaf Notcher (Scientific Name: Pryeria sinica)

While it is considered rare elsewhere in the world there has only ever been one seen and found in the UK and that was by a little girl in Bucklebury, Berks. While not the prettiest moth it is still well worth saving, despite the lack of current conservation efforts.

The Death's-head hawkmoth (Scientific Name: Acherontia)
The Death’s-head hawkmoth (Scientific Name: Acherontia)

The Death’s-head hawkmoth (Scientific Name: Acherontia)

These moths might have been immortalised by the classic in the 1991 movie ‘Silence of the Lambs’ but they were rare back then and are sadly still one of the worlds rarest moths, even if they do have celebrity status.

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