I saw this beauty on the lake – where is it from? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on Mandarin ducks, lichen, hermit crabs and more

The spring sunshine highlights the intricate detail of the fruiting bodies on this lichen on a twig in our garden. – Michael Cross, Belfast

Xanthoria parietina is a fairly common lichen in Ireland.

I spotted this still living creature on Killiney beach. – Mary Convery, Sandycove, Co Dublin

It’s a hermit crab, which lives in the shells of shellfish – often, as here, in the shell of the common whelk.

I found this crab on Harbour View beach, in Kilbrittain, Co Cork. I grew up by the sea but never saw a crab with a tail and long feelers like this. – Julie Doyle Daly, Ballinadee, Co Cork

This is a masked crab, a female, as the male has one much longer claw.

I saw this beauty on the lake in Bushy Park but no sign of a female. Do they breed in Ireland or where would he have come from? – Patrick Fitzgerald, Terenure, Dublin 6W

Mandarin ducks have been established on the Dodder for more than a decade. They came originally from China and escaped from domestic collections.

I found this fusion of a mussel shell and an oyster shell on Dollymount Strand. Is this unusual? – Claire Wilde, Dublin 3

Yes, it is unusual, a puzzle to solve.

I had no sooner cleaned out and rehung the nest box when a lodger, a blue tit, arrived and spent every night in it. – Frank Curran, Leixlip, Co Kildare

While walking in St Enda's Park I met this friendly squirrel, who thought he had bagged a tasty mouthful.– Brian Swan, Churchtown, Dublin 14

We have a water rail family nesting in our garden. Every year they come out to eat frog spawn from the pond outside our window. – Colm de Bhaldraithe, Oileán Mhúinse, Co na Gaillimhe

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Include a postal address.

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