Pitcairn Islands

Henderson Hawkmoth Hippotion hateleyi

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Lockington resident Roger Hateley describes how his son Jonathan Hateley, came to discover a brand new species of hawkmoth on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific.

hatelyi stamp

Henderson Hawkmoth Hippotion hateleyi

Operation Raleigh was a four year round the world expedition which began in Hull in 1984. The aim was to involve 4000 young people (2000 from the UK) aged 17-24 in a variety of challenging scientific and community aid projects in under-developed parts of the world. Those selected by means of quite severe tests of physical and mental stamina went abroad for several months. The scientific work was based aboard “Sir Walter Raleigh”, a converted Hull trawler.
Having been selected as a “venturer” to help construct an area designated as a national park in the Bahamas, Jonathan Hateley was then invited to be the Scientific Officer aboard the ship for a trip across the Pacific from South America to Australia. One of his projects was to collect moths on the uninhabited Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn group. On 18 June 1986 he found a rather large brown moth in his trap which looked unlike any others he had seen up to then.
On his return to UK the specimen was investigated by Dr Jeremy Holloway in the London Natural History Museum and turned out to be a new species of Hawkmoth.
A further expedition some years later found several more specimens on Henderson Island which appears so far to be its only habitat.
Subsequently it featured on one of the Pitcairn stamps.

Roger Hateley 2012


Hippotion hatelyi by B. Hargreaves