Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

Sea orange sponge, rose chafer beetle and the poisonous fly agaric, Amanita muscaria

This was found among the washed-up seaweed on Bonmahon beach, Co Waterford. It has solid texture, smells of fish and measures 8x4cm. Would it be a sponge?

Mary Ryan, Dundrum, Dublin 16

Yes, it is the sea orange sponge, Suberites ficus. It is frequently associated with whelk shells occupied by hermit crabs.

I would be most grateful if you could identify this insect, one of at least six on the outside wall of my house recently.


Peter Brennan, Dungloe, Co Donegal

It is the beautiful rose chafer beetle, which is around at this time of year.

I spotted this unusual rock on Bray seafront and it seems to be some sort of fossils.

Rachel Sweeney, Bray, Co Wicklow.

They appear to be the fossils of a colony of corals embedded in the rock.

My friend Gerry O’Keeffe photographed this mushroom near Bunclody, Co Wexford.

Mike Egan, Ballivor, Co Meath

It is the very poisonous fly agaric, Amanita muscaria.

While walking the dogs we disturbed a grey crow from a gate post. It flew to an overhead wire, where I noticed that it had a sprig of elderberries in its claw. It held the sprig in one claw and individually ate the elderberries.

Gerard Neville, Littleton, Co Tipperary

I nearly put my hand on this scorpion-like little guy when eating my lunch at Three Rock on the Dublin Mountains.

Pat Keane, Castleknock, Dublin 15

It is the rove beetle, the devil’s coach horse, dearg-a-daol in Ireland.

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