Which bullying beetle is this? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on pond life, regurgitated frog spawn and a headless hedgehog

Great diving beetle

Great diving beetle

 

I saw this beetle-like creature, about 2.5cm long, walking in the sand on the Long Strand after a strong storm. What species is it? – Jens Uhl, Clonakilty, Co Cork
It’s the great diving beetle, which flies from freshwater pond to pond during the breeding season. Both adults and the shrimp-like larvae attack frogs, newts, fish, tadpoles and other animals in the pond.

Tortoiseshell butterfly
Tortoiseshell butterfly

I saw this early-season visitor in our garden on St Patrick’s Day: hopefully a sign of better days ahead. – Eoin O’Flynn, Termonfeckin, Co Louth
The welcome, small tortoiseshell butterfly appears early in March.

Frog spawn
Frog spawn

I found this blob in our field a few weeks ago. I keep an eye on it every day, but it hasn’t changed a bit since then. – Jenny Schütz, Murroe, Co Limerick
It looks like frog spawn regurgitated by an animal that swallowed a pregnant frog, possibly a badger or a heron. It will eventually dry out.

Hedgehog
Hedgehog

I was horrified to find this hedgehog in my garden with his face eaten away. I thought his prickles would protect him. I buried him and was surprised at how heavy he was. – Helen deCourcy, Ballinakill, Co Waterford
It could have been a fox, a dog , a cat or a badger, although a badger would have rolled it over and eaten more of it.

Holly tree
Holly tree

This holly tree has been in berry for more than 14 months. I have been observing it for the past five years and it has always stayed in berry for a long time, but this year is unusual. – Maeve McNamara, Bray, Co Wicklow

Long-tailed tit
Long-tailed tit

I spotted this bird in the garden for the first time. I think it’s a long-tailed tit, but I’m not sure. – Sara Robb, Hollywood, Co Down
You got it first time.

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

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