I caught this abducted crab with my spade: Readers’ nature queries

Your notes and queries for Éanna Ní Lamhna

A spider crab which survivied a battle with a seagull

A spider crab which survivied a battle with a seagull

 

A seagull plucked this crab out of the sea, flew high in the air and dropped the crab on the beach. I caught the crab with my spade. What species is it?

Joshua McGuinness (aged eight)

Well done you! It is a spider crab – missing three of its 10 legs as a result of the battle. The claws on the front pair are very small in this species.

Pyramidal Orchid.
Pyramidal Orchid.

We discovered this sole orchid in the grass in our garden in Sandymount. We have not cut the grass this year. Are orchids unusual in Dublin city gardens?

Paddy and Ellen Sides, Dublin

Who knows? Seed banks in the soil can last 80 years. Planting grass, mowing it frequently, adding fertilisers and weedkillers and considering wildflowers to be weeds would put off any flowering biodiversity. Look what happens when this murderous regime is abandoned.

A whitethroat seen on Achill Island
A whitethroat seen on Achill Island

What is this bird I saw at Lough Acorrymore near Keem beach on Achill Island? It flew in small groups of about six.

Jack Megannety

It is a whitethroat, a breeding summer migrant.

Dryad’s Saddle fungus
Dryad’s Saddle fungus

We found this mushroom growing in our garden after a night of rain. What is istand is it poisonous to humans or cats?

Jennifer Cosgrove, Dublin

Kathleen Haughey also saw a similar one on a beech tree on the Curragh. It is a fungus called the Dryad’s Saddle. Warm temperature and rainfall can cause quick growth. It is not harmful (unless you are a tree).

Star Ascidian
Star Ascidian

This was found by a friend on the Lucky Shell beach near Creeslough, Co Donegal. What is it?

Maria Howard, Letterkenny

This is a Star Ascidian. Each “flower” is a colony of 8-10 sea squirts which individually can take in nutrients and oxygen but share a common outflow in the centre of the star.

Lesser Butterfly Orchid
Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Michael Cross sent in this photo of the elegant Lesser Butterfly Orchid.

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

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