Irish invasion
August 9, 2009
Enjoying a walk on Isis Mor in the Tri-Island Aran Islands I beleive I was bitten by this strange insect, the bite developed into a sunken bruise and I have since recovered but I would very much like to know what it was. and also what you would recommend for me to read as Entomology is a fascinating field, specifically books that help in the identification of insects.
Thank you for your assistance!
Tómas Ó Gallachóir

Unknown Irish Insect:  Owlfly perhaps???

Transparent Burnet

Hi Tómas,
This is a mystery and your photo doesn’t show the type of detail we would like to see.  Our first guess, would be a  Lepidopteran, and then an Owlfly in the family Ascalaphidae, but we cannot seem to locate anything that remotely resembles your insect online.  The clubbed antennae and wings lead us to believe this is either an Owlfly or a member of the order Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths).  Is it possible the bite you describe came from another insect?  It is possible an Owlfly might bite, but we can’t image the bite reaction you describe.  This might also be a Sawfly, but again we are really puzzled by this challenging identificaton.  We are going to enlist some assistance in this identification.

Update from Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
It is a moth, specifically the “transparent burnet,” Zygaena purpuralis.  Seriously doubt it is capable of “biting” with its proboscis.

Thanks Eric,
We are linking to the UK Moths page on the Transparent Burnet.

Thanks for the update Eric and Daniel, I’m glad it proved a challenge to identify! I am not 100% it was this nearby ”Ztgaena Purpuralis” that was the culprit in the biting, As I reflexively brushed the insect that bit me away without getting a good look at it, I just presumed that it was this guy as he was nearby and slightly resembled what had bit me, in proportions anyway, although the wings of the biting insect could have been more green/grey in colour.
Thanks again

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