Apr 252021
 

From Australia to Ireland!

During the lockdown in April/May 2020, I spent a lot of time across the fields in Knocksink Wood O213182 in north Co. Wicklow.  With the fine weather, two or three days a week were spent in the wood netting anything that flew – wasps, bees, moths, the lot. The normal method was to net, bottle, identify and release.

Anything that was not readily identified in the field was taken home to the fridge. Each jar was then taken out, the insect identified if possible and photographed if in good condition.

Eventually there was one or two jars left with problematic creatures. These were again checked, photographed and the photos filed for further study. The next day everything was taken to the woods for releasing.

It was into this last category that a small micro moth fell. It wasn’t until 2 Feb 2021 that I contacted MothsIreland to see if they could help with the identification. A few days later I was informed that Eamonn O’Donnell had identified the moth as Pachyrhabda steropodes. It was new to Ireland and was native to Australia! It is classified as an adventive species that probably arrived here with imported plants.

Pachyrhabda steropodes was first found in England in Dorset in 2010, and has since spread to Devon and Wales.

My task for 2021 is to find another Pachyrhabda steropodes for the Natural History Museum!

Kieran Finch.

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