Could this curious spider be a snake-back? Readers’ nature queries
Ethna Viney lifts the lid on many curious wonders of our natural world
The snake-back spider.
When cleaning out an old nesting box I found this spider. Could you identify it? Heather Fleming, Fermoy, Co Cork.
Answer: It’s the snake-back spider which has been reported from a few places in this country. You can report it with photograph to https://records.biodiversityireland.ie/start-recording.
We have noticed wasps and bees around a cherry tree that is not yet in blossom, what are they after? Liam Cahill, Howth, Co Dublin.
Answer: The wasps and bees are finding honeydew, a sugary substance deposited by aphids.
We have a daily visit from a cock pheasant to our bird feeder. Shaun Connor, Rosses Point, Co Sligo. A cock pheasant visited our garden recently. Therese Gumbrielle, Clontarf, Dublin 3.
For some years we’ve only had an odd grey squirrel in our oak forest. Recently we’ve seen a red squirrel. How can we encourage more reds? Gary Crocker, Glenealy, Co Wicklow.
Answer: An oak forest is not the most attractive place for red squirrels as they can’t digest acorns and the greys can. Red squirrels eat mainly pine seeds.
Can you identify these shells? We found hundreds of them on Woodstown strand, Co Waterford. They were about 8cms long and 5cms at the widest part. Helen Bailly, Dublin 14.
Answer: They are oyster shells and have dredging marks on them. There are oysters beds in the area.
I found this fossil while beachcombing with my seven-year-old daughter on Carrowhubbock beach, Enniscrone, CO Sligo. Scott Walkin, Ballina, Co Mayo.
I took this photograph of a “swamp lantern” at Gartan Lake, Co Donegal. What is it? Tom Hannigan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
Answer: It’s American skunk cabbage, an invasive alien that escaped from a garden about ninety years ago and is now established here as a wildflower.
During the sunny last week in February this beautiful peacock butterfly was enjoying the sunshine on the flowering heather in my mother’s garden. Frank Vaughan, Terenure, Dublin, 6W
- Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a postal address.