AN insect never recorded in Ireland has been found crawling around Kildavin. Nysius huttoni, a native of New Zealand, has been found on waste ground in Kildavin by ecologist Ciarán Byrne.
Known as the wheat bug, the insect was introduced to continental Europe and previously spread to Britain.
Ciarán was looking at ground at the back of his house when he happened upon nysius huttoni, which is 3mm in size.
“I was basically staring at the ground,” joked Ciaran. “I survey other groups such as bees and flies so this area was out the back of the house. I noticed them crawling across the ground and thought it was unusual.”
This is not the first time Ciarán has uncovered new species in Ireland, having previously found an unrecorded bug in Clonegal and a fly in Dublin.
“It’s always nice to get something new for the country,” said the Bunclody native, who works with Forest, Environmental Research & Services (FERS) Ltd. “It’s a combination of a bit of luck and not having many people out looking for them. It’s also knowing where to look and what to look for.”
The bug is not considered to be a significant pest for wheat, but Ciarán suggested this could change, depending on climate change.
“It seems to have spread rapidly in the UK and displaced some of the native species in that family,” he said. “It will be interesting to see if there are more sites nearby; they are probably more widespread.”