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

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.

Kidney vetch, a lovely flower of the seashore
Kidney vetch, a lovely flower of the seashore

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.

White plume moth
White plume moth

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.

Comma butterfly, a regular visitor from Britain
Comma butterfly, a regular visitor from Britain

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.

Sawfly, the female uses her ovipositor to bore into pine tree where she lays her eggs.
Sawfly, the female uses her ovipositor to bore into pine tree where she lays her eggs.

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.

iIchneumon wasp, the sabre wasp
iIchneumon wasp, the sabre wasp

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 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.