John zooms in on the strangest of crea­tures

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

WEX­FORD wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher John Holden is a man well used to root­ing out un­usual crea­tures dur­ing his for­ays into the Raven For­est.

But what he found last week sur­prised even him - a rare in­sect, prob­a­bly a first for Le­in­ster and only the sec­ond of its kind ever recorded in Ire­land.

The bug is a He­pi­opel­mus var­ie­ga­to­rius.

‘ The first record in Ire­land was in 2013, recorded in Done­gal by Stu­art Dun­lop. The sec­ond record was yes­ter­day by me,’ said John, who fea­tures all his strik­ing images on face­book wwww.face­book.com/WildAboutWex­ford.

John said the in­sect is around 15mm in length and has strik­ing coloura­tion.

It is a par­a­sitoid that tar­gets Buff & Er­mine Moths, de­posit­ing its eggs in their body al­low­ing the young to eat their way out of the host.

John Holden’s pic­ture of rare in­sect he en­coun­tered at the Raven For­est near Cur­r­a­cloe.

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