There is a huge diversity of moths found at REGUA, most of which remain unidentified. For several years a small group of amateur entomologists have been photographing and cataloguing the moths at REGUA, using mercury vapour light traps around the reserve. Specific identification is hampered by a lack of field guides for the region, however we are slowly building a comprehensive image library and database of the species present and their flight times.

In October 2013 we constructed the world’s first ‘moth wall’ in the lodge garden – a roofed concrete wall with a mercury vapour bulb and a black fluorescent bulb on each side. The moth wall makes it easy for guests at the lodge to help us with our moth research – by photographing the moths and emailing photos of any species not shown on our checklist to us for identification.

The exception to the above are the hawkmoths, where not only have we identified all the species found to occur at REGUA so far, but we have also published an identification guide to the 110 species that have been recorded in the Serra dos Órgãos.

There are thought to be about 201 species of hawkmoths found in Brazil, of which 110 have been recorded in the Serra dos Órgãos and a further four in Rio de Janeiro state. To date 81 species have been found at REGUA, but it is possible that almost all of the 110 could occur here. The recently updated website Hawkmoths of Brazil provides help with identifying all 201 species.

Hawkmoths can be found at all times of the year, although some have a restricted flight period and the moon phase and temperature affects their attraction to light. The REGUA data is biased due to the variable recording effort by altitude as well as time of year – most recording occurs at the lodge and the conservation centre and the peak visitor period is between August and November), but there does also appear to be a peak flight period in March at the end of the austral winter.


  • Kingdom:
  • Animalia
  • Phylum:
  • Arthropoda
  • Class:
  • Insecta
  • Order:
  • Lepidoptera
  • Linnaeus, 1758

REGUA systematic species list

Taxonomy and nomenclature follows van Nieukerken et al., 2011, except Sphingidae which follows Kitching & Cadiou, 2000, and Tortricidae which follows Gilligan, T. M., J.