Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries

A devil’s coach horse, a trapped crow and a death’s head hawkmoth

Summer visitor from Africa: the death’s head hawkmoth photographed by Michael Bell

Summer visitor from Africa: the death’s head hawkmoth photographed by Michael Bell

 

I spotted a long black insect with its tail turned up. Can you tell me a bit about it?
Phil McNamara
Kilkee, Co Clare

It is a devil’s coach horse beetle, from your photograph. We know it by its Irish name, dearga daol. It comes out at night to eat slugs and insects. When disturbed it opens its jaws wide and raises its hind end like a scorpion.

For two days I noticed a silent crow high in a tree beside the garden. When I checked on the spuds I found a crow whose feet were entangled in the mesh over the crop. When I released the crow it flew high into a neighbouring tree; the one that had been waiting perched next to him, where they remained, touching each other.
Jimmy Ryan
Emly, Co Tipperary

Literature suggests that crows (including rooks) mate for life but perform courtship every year. But it finds males will wander.

Michael Bell, of Co Sligo, sent photographs of a death’s head hawkmoth. It is a summer visitor to Europe from Africa and the largest hawkmoth.

Michael Viney welcomes observations at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, or email viney@anu.ie. Please include a postal address

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