Is this a shark moth? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on moths, bird’s nest orchid, white ragged robin and four-spotted chaser dragonfly

Shark moth

Shark moth

 

Is this a shark moth? - Frank Folan, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare
Yes, it is. The shark moth is found locally throughout Ireland but more plentiful in coastal areas, particularly in west Mayo, Galway and north Clare.

The narrow bordered bee hawkmoth. Photograph: Aine O’Regan
The narrow bordered bee hawkmoth. Photograph: Aine O’Regan

This insect was feeding on rhododendron, along with bumble bees. – Helen Bond, Claudy, Co Derry

This hummingbird hawkmoth was feeding in our garden. – Áine O’Regan, The Burren , Co Clare
While these insects resemble the hummingbird hawkmoth, both are the narrow-bordered bee hawkmoth, which mimics bumblebees.

Bird’s nest orchid
Bird’s nest orchid

I found this bird’s nest orchid in the forest on Binevenagh Mountain, Co Derry. It is unusual as it lacks chlorophyll and parasitises tree roots. –Michael Cross, Belfast
The roots of the bird’s nest orchid are heavily infected with a fungus through which it obtains its food from the soil or tree roots. It gets its name from the shape of its roots.

Buff ermine moth
Buff ermine moth

I spotted this moth early this month inside a window frame where it had laid eggs. – Brigitte Krenn, Laytown, Co Meath
It’s the buff ermine moth, which obviously got trapped inside and couldn’t get out to lay its eggs on the food plant.

Four-spotted chaser dragonfly
Four-spotted chaser dragonfly

I saw this dragonfly along the Royal Canal. Is it just one fly or two? The shape of its head end looks strange. – Brian Collins Raheny, Co Dublin
It’s the four-spotted chaser dragonfly, and that is its shape.

Pigeons chew the leaves of my lilac and sometimes fall asleep in the tree. When someone opens the door they fly in all directions sometimes hitting walls and windows. – Myles Reid, Deansgrange, Co Dublin

White ragged robin
White ragged robin

I came across this beauty on my road. Is it a white ragged robin? – Suzanne Lindfield, Cashel, Connemara
Yes, it’s uncommon but occurs now and again.

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

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