Eye on Nature: Could this be a bloodsucking horsefly?

Eanna Ní Lamhna answers your nature queries

This is a harmless male which feeds on nectar, but the female is a bloodsucker that can inflict painful bites on humans, cattle and horses.

This is a harmless male which feeds on nectar, but the female is a bloodsucker that can inflict painful bites on humans, cattle and horses.

 

I found this character in a spider’s web in my house. The best guess I can make is that it’s a hornet, but I don’t think the “face” looks waspy enough
Eva O Donnell, Co Clare
No indeed – the huge eyes and having only two wings (not four) mean that it is a fly. And not any old fly, but a large horsefly. The antennae are scimitar-shaped and the feet have three pads. This is a harmless poor male which feeds on nectar, but the female is a bloodsucker that can inflict painful bites on humans, cattle and horses.

This creature has been on this plant at a friend’s house for three days. I thought it was a leaf.
Mary Spillane, Nenagh, Co Tipperary


It is the poplar hawkmoth. At rest, with the hind wings projecting in front of the forewings, it does look like a cluster of dead leaves; successful camouflage.

These caterpillars were devouring my nasturtiums. What are they?
Paul Aiken, Belfast


Caterpillars are eating machines, and these are of the large white butterfly. They also gobble the leaves of cabbages and other brassica plants.

Invasive Quagga mussel


Dan Minchin sent in this picture of the invasive Quagga mussel, originally from Ukraine, which was found in early July in large numbers in Lough Ree and downstream in the Shannon to Lough Derg. He warns that anyone moving boats from the Shannon should be aware that they could spread this species, which spreads even more aggressively than the Zebra Mussel.

My wife saw this flower on a recent visit home to Donegal and was wondering about an identification.
Rab Cherry, by email
It is the marsh cinquefoil whose sepals close after fertilisation.

Kingfisher at rest


The lovely picture this week is one of a kingfisher with its breakfast, taken by Marty McDonald on the way to work in Wicklow’s Druids Glen.

Have you a nature query, observation or photograph you would like to share with The Irish Times? Submit it, with location of the image, via our website irishtimes.com/eyeonnature

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.