Feb 162022
 

On 1 June 2020, while walking along the clifftops at Islandikane East, Co. Waterford (Vice-county H6; Irish grid reference X536983), on the south-east coast of Ireland, TB disturbed a moth which he recognised as a pyralid belonging to either Homoeosoma or Phycitodes. Knowing the difficulty in separating some of these species, the temptation was to simply ignore it, but considering the early date TB decided to retain the moth for further inspection. Along with some other specimens it was eventually sent to KGMB who by both female genitalia examination, and by the details of the forewing markings, determined the moth to be Homoeosoma nimbella (Duponchel, 1836).

There are no Irish specimens in the National Museum of Ireland, Natural History (NMINH), and this species is believed to be new to the Irish fauna (see Bond & O’Connor, 2012. Additions, deletions and corrections to an annotated checklist of the Irish butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) with a concise checklist of Irish species and Elachista biatomella (Stainton, 1848) new to Ireland. Bulletin of the Irish Biogeographical Society 36: 60-179). Goater (1986. British Pyralid Moths: A guide to their identification. Harley Books) states that the British distribution is imperfectly known and does not include any reference to Irish reports. The species is mapped on the National Biodiversity Network website (accessed 7 May 2021) from England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands, but not from Ireland. Ireland is similarly lacking in representation at the Fauna Europaea website (https://fauna-eu.org/).  The moth will be lodged with the NMINH, Dublin.

The larvae of H. nimbella feed on Sheep’s-bit Jasione montana, with the adults flying from May to August, inhabiting sand dunes, sea cliffs and stone walls on the coast (see e.g., Sterling, P., Parsons, M. & Lewington, R., 2012.  Field Guide to the Micromoths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing).

Bryant, T. & Bond, K.G.M., 2021. Homoeosoma nimbella (Duponchel, 1836) (Lep.: Pyralidae) new to Ireland. Entomologist’s Record & Journal of Variation 133: 160-161.

Tony Bryant.

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