Éanna Ní Lamhna: What’s going on in this violent scene? Readers’ nature queries

Éanna Ní Lamhna answers your nature queries. Read her replies here, and submit your own

Crab spider

Crab spider

 

My daughter spotted this flower crab spider with its kill on a yellow daylily in our garden. – Aonghus O’Keeffe, Sandyford village, Dublin 18
Crab spiders live in flowers – usually white or yellow ones. They are superbly placed to catch unwary visiting pollinators such as this bumblebee, which has been bitten just behind the head and paralysed.

Brimstone moth
Brimstone moth

Can you identify this moth we saw in Donegal? – Frank Prendergast, Skerries, Co Dublin
It is a brimstone moth, whose caterpillars feed on hawthorn and blackthorn. The adult flies at night between April and September and is attracted to lighted windows.

Cow parsley
Cow parsley

I struggle to identify the different umbelliferae. Is this cow parsley? – Éamonn O Sullivan, Ballyhea, Cork
It is. The verges of our hedgerows are awash with it in June. It has elegant white flowerheads in umbels of eight to 12 rays, like umbrella spokes, and fern-like, thrice pinnate leaves.

Newt
Newt

Our wild pond was full of newts earlier in the year. Most were dark and sometimes spotted, but we recently found this one crawling through the uncut lawn looking quite light in colour. – Rachael Elliott
During the spring breeding season, newts are in definite breeding colours with spots. They revert to dull brown colours and leave the pond when mating is over and the eggs are laid.

Woodlouse spider
Woodlouse spider

My daughter Aoife spotted this spider on a beach in Wexford. We can’t identify it; can you help? – Brenda and Aoife Cullen
This blood-thirsty-looking woodlouse spider is slow-moving, nocturnal, has huge fangs and preys entirely on woodlice. This one is probably staking out the sea slaters – woodlice that live on the seashore.

Badger burrow
Badger burrow

What animal has been burrowing in my back garden? The burrow was about 60cm deep, 20cm wide and 30cm high before I shovelled the soil back in and placed concrete blocks to prevent further digging. My garden is in a built-up suburb of Dublin. – Cathal Convery
A badger is trying to take up residence in your garden without planning permission.

If you have a nature query, observation or photo you would like to share with The Irish Times, submit it at irishtimes.com/eyeonnature