15.065 BF343 Phyllonorycter esperella. (Goeze, 1783). New to Ireland
Two things conspired, firstly I had to attend the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast on 9th October 2019 for a check-up. Secondly I had an increased interest in hornbeam after Eamonn O’Donnell had found what appeared to be the tentiform mines of Phyllonorycter tenerella in Dublin. It turned out that the avenue between the main car park and the main building at the Royal is lined with hornbeams. It did not take long to notice the gallery mines of Stigmella microtheriella and S. floslactella and then I saw the first distinctive upper surface tent mine of P. esperella.. and then another… none of the other similar mines (such as P. coryli on hazel) are found on hornbeam. I collected a couple of specimens and went for my appointment… slightly late. After the appointment I called into Musgrave Park (next to another hospital!) in the knowledge that there is a well-established hornbeam hedge around the small car park. On parking up I could actually see esperella mines from the car window…
The hornbeams around these two Belfast hospitals are obviously imported as established trees, the moths have arrived with them. Long established hornbeams in Botanic are so far devoid of esperella but it is likely that they will move out over the next few years. As for tenerella I have had no luck. Occupied mines which look like this species have turned out to be the polyphagous (and rather annoying) P. messaniella but I will keep looking.