Scrambled egg or dog’s vomit? Your nature queries answered

Plus: Why crabs are coming out of their shells, and a healthy-eating ‘dormouse’

Slime mould

Slime mould

 

Recently my brother picked up what looked like a fossilised oyster shell on Clonea Beach (Dungarvan, Co Waterford). There were many of them there that day.
David Brennan, Waterford

It’s a cuttlefish bone.

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It seems each year a vast quantity of crabs are found dead at this time of the year.
Michael Gately, Wexford
The crabs gather in thousands offshore to shed their shells and grow new ones. The old ones are washed on the beaches.

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This insect was photographed in our garden last month. It looks like a male ichneumon and was about 3-4 inches long.
Yanny Petters, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

It’s a sawfly, the female horntail or wood wasp, which uses her ovipositor to bore into pine trees, where she lays her eggs. They hatch and take two-three years before emerging as fully grown sawflies.

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I came across this substance after cutting the grass and it seems to have grown since then. It looks a bit like scrambled egg and is soft to the touch.
Paul Higgins, Longford

Slime mould

It is a scrambled egg (or dog’s vomit) slime mould. It goes through several stages of development – from hardly noticeable cells to this form, then to a black form that will produce spores.

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This beautiful but extremely fragile insect visited me recently. The closest I can get to identify it is the mosquito hawk, but the body is not exactly the same.
James P Brennan, Clontarf, Dublin 3

It’s one of the crane flies, probably Tipula maxima.

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This dormouse (I think) spent a little time examining our vegetable plot.
George Keegan, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare

It’s a field (also called wood) mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus.

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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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