Eye on Nature: Star-shaped shrooms and an oil-based mystery

From lugworm to crown gall – Eithne Viney answers your nature-based questions

Banded mosquito, Culiseta annulata.

Banded mosquito, Culiseta annulata.

 

Last month we were getting strange bites. Could it have it been from this insect, which seems too big to be a mosquito? Martin Swords, Ashford, Co Wicklow.
It is the banded mosquito, Culiseta annulata, one of the largest mosquitoes, and found in this country.

I discovered these earthstars below a chestnut tree in our garden. Heather Thompson, Crumlin, Co Antrim.

An earthstar, Geastrum spp.
An earthstar, Geastrum spp.

While taking children on a school trip to Marlay Park, one of them spotted these mushrooms. Meadhbh.
These fungi are one of the earthstars, Geastrum spp, which fruit at this time of year.

Crown gall caused by the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens.
Crown gall caused by the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

I came across this object while doing a winter tidy in west Cork. It has a woody, cork-like texture and seems like a growth out of a little branch. Brendan Conroy, Raheny, Dublin.
It is crown gall caused by the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which gains access to woody plants and tree through wounds in the roots.

A lugworm.
A lugworm.

I spotted this creature on the beach at Brittas Bay after hurricane Ophelia. It was approximately five inches (127mm) long. Tony Delahunt, Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow.
It was a lugworm, which lives in the sand and is commonly used as bait by sea anglers.

This oily film is the result of the breakdown of organic matter.
This oily film is the result of the breakdown of organic matter.

I took this picture on an exposed upland area of Bere Island in the summer. It appears to be an oily slick on the surface of the water. I was puzzled as there was not any source of oil in the area. Fintan Lyons, Clontarf, Dublin.
The oily film is the result of the breakdown of organic matter, aided by warm temperatures.

  • Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Please include a postal address
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.