That shell you found in Kerry has sunburn. Readers’ nature queries
Ethna Viney on seashore flowers, a butterfly visitor and the sabre wasp
Oyster shell after the sun
While on my holidays in Baile an Sceilg, Ciarraí, I found this unusual shell on the beach. It was 5-7cm long. Caoimhe Ní hAodh, Baile Átha Cliath, 6w
It’s an oyster shell that got sunburned. If an oyster shell is exposed to direct sunlight it begins to turn black. There is melanin in the shell that reacts to UV light just like our skin does.
Could you identify this amazing flower which I photographed in the sand dunes on Lough Swilly in Donegal? Pete Fisher, Rathmullen, Co Donegal
It’s kidney vetch, a lovely flower of the seashore.
This gorgeous insect was on carrots growing in the polytunnel. It was 2.3cm long from wingtip to wingtip, I hope it eats aphids. Rosemary Ryan, Tutestown, Co Kilkenny
It’s the white plume moth. The larvae feed on bindweed.
What is this butterfly, which was photographed in Mount Usher recently? Is it a native or a visitor? Frances Cooke, Maple Road, Dublin 14
The comma butterfly has been a regular visitor from Britain to the east of the country, but it may be occasionally over-wintering here now.
There were several requests for identification of the wood wasp or horntail. This insect is a sawfly, not a wasp. The female uses her ovipositor to bore into pine tree where she lays her eggs. The eggs hatch and the larvae remain there for two or three years when they emerge as the adult insect. This photo was sent by Emilie Mason of Ballyadams, Co Laois.
We spotted this fly at Blessington lakes. It looks like a type of dragonfly or damselfly. Myles and Noi Reid, Dublin
It’s an ichneumon wasp, the sabre wasp. The female bores into pine trees in the same way as the wood wasp and lays her eggs in the larvae of the wood wasp.
Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at email@example.com. Please include a postal address.