Is this a tick, and could it be carrying Lyme disease? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on ticks, foxes, long-eared owls, mason wasps and silver Y moths

Eyes on nature: the tick that landed on the wild garlic Emer O’Shea was photographing on Lough Erne

Eyes on nature: the tick that landed on the wild garlic Emer O’Shea was photographing on Lough Erne

 

On an island on Lough Erne I was trying to do a soft-focus shot of wild garlic when this wee creature landed in front of my lens. Is it one of the ticks that can cause Lyme disease?
Emer O’Shea
Ballyshannon, Co Donegal

It is a tick. Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of a tick infected with the bacterium ‘Borrelia burgdorferi’. But not all ticks carry the bacterium; they get it by biting infected animals like deer or sheep.

Eyes on nature: the rat-carrying fox that Philip Travers saw in Rochestown, Co Cork
Eyes on nature: the rat-carrying fox that Philip Travers saw in Rochestown, Co Cork

I saw the fox in my photograph with a rat in its mouth in Rochestown. Foxes are not so bad if they keep down the rats.
Philip Travers
Rochestown, Co Cork

Eyes on nature: the long-eared owl that came into the bedroom of Catherine Rice’s brother and sister-in-law
Eyes on nature: the long-eared owl that came into the bedroom of Catherine Rice’s brother and sister-in-law

The owl in my photograph came into the bedroom of my brother and his wife at 4am. They collected it in a towel and, after a photocall, guided it out of the window. We can hear the young call at night.
Catherine Rice
Jenkinstown, Co Kilkenny

It was a young long-eared owl.

Eyes on nature: the mason wasp that Ronan Copeland saw attacking a caterpillar. The wasp lines its nest with them to feed its young
Eyes on nature: the mason wasp that Ronan Copeland saw attacking a caterpillar. The wasp lines its nest with them to feed its young

I’m sending you a photo of a bee attacking a caterpillar that we saw in Co Roscommon recently. I have never seen this behaviour before.
Ronan Copeland
Sandymount, Dublin

It was a solitary mason wasp, which lines its nest with caterpillars to feed its young. It looks like ‘Ancistrocerus nigricornis’, which has been reported only once in Ireland but is local in Britain.

A small green caterpillar has been eating my lettuce plants. I’ve never come across this before. Is there a butterfly that lays its eggs on lettuce?
Eugene Griffin
Boyle, Co Roscommon

A small, brown-patterned moth, the silver Y, lays small green caterpillars on lettuce and cabbage.

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Please include a postal address