Is this an octopus or a squid and is it unusual? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on the lesser octopus, great spider crab, blackcap and yellow brain fungus

Lesser octopus found by Valerie Duffy

Lesser octopus found by Valerie Duffy

 

I saw this squid or octopus on Cahore beach in Wexford. Is this species unusual on an Irish beach? – Valerie Duffy, Ballygarret, Co Wexford
You saw a lesser (also called curled) octopus ,which are found all around the coast and have been reported from southwest Kerry.

Maol Iosa Gough’s great spider crab
Maol Iosa Gough’s great spider crab

Could you identify this small, red crab, about the size of a female hand, discovered alive in a rock pool on Béal Bán, Ballyferriter, Co Kerry? – Maol Iosa Gough, Blackrock, Co Dublin
It’s the great spider crab, which is not the largest of the spiny crabs. It is found all around the coast.

Blackcap from Neil Vaughan’s garden
Blackcap from Neil Vaughan’s garden

Could you identify this bird for me? He recently arrived in my garden and is very territorial, chasing away the great tits and blue tits. – Neil Vaughan, Foxrock, Dublin
It’s a blackcap, very aggressive when they claim a territory.

Conor Johnson’s snipe
Conor Johnson’s snipe

This recent visitor to the garden was feeding on the frozen ground. I think it may be a jack snipe but I’m not sure. – Conor Johnson, Abbeyside, Waterford
It’s a snipe, which has a much longer beak than a jack snipe. It should be feeding in marshy ground but the frost may have sent it into the garden.

Yellow brain fungus spotted on a tree branch by Lorna Walsh
Yellow brain fungus spotted on a tree branch by Lorna Walsh

We spotted this yellow stuff high up an a tree branch along the Liffey. Is it a mushroom, and is it poisonous or edible? – Lorna Walsh, Lucan, Co Dublin
Yellow brain fungus grows on dead wood. It is eaten in some parts of the world but the taste is regarded as bland.

Rove beetle found by George Nohilly
Rove beetle found by George Nohilly

I found several of these beetles around our cottage near Maumtrasna; what are they? – George Nohilly, Greystones, Co Wicklow
It’s a rove beetle, Staphylinus caesareus, the same family as the devil’s coach horse or dearg-a-daol.

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

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.