We found a dead sperm whale. Is this species common around Ireland? Readers’ nature queries

Plus sea mice, cup fungi and leatherback turtles

 

While out walking around Carnsore Point we came across a whale carcass washed ashore at Nethertown. I think it’s a sperm whale. Are they common off Irish shores?
Peter Grogan
Palmerstown, Dublin

Sperm whales are widespread in the deep waters off the Irish Continental Shelf, in the Rockall Trough and along the slopes of the Porcupine Bank. There have been many stranding records.

After recent high tides a lot of sea life was washed up on Bettystown beach. I’m sending you a photograph of a creature I have never seen before.
Niamh Kelly
Bettystown, Co Meath

I encountered dozens of sea mice on Gormanston Strand. They ranged in length from 2in to 8in, or 5cm to 20cm.
Phil Reilly
Drogheda, Co Louth

The marine scale worm called a sea mouse, ‘Aphrodite aculeata’, lives in soft ground in shallow to deep water. Emily O’Byrne, from Batterstown, in Co Meath, also sent a photograph of a sea mouse, this one found on Portmarnock Strand, in north Co Dublin.

I came across a fungus near Lough Carra in Co Mayo that I’d like to identify.
Gary Purcell
Castlebar, Co Mayo

From the photograph you sent, it is one of the cup fungi. It would need closer scrutiny to decide which. It could be the orange-peel fungus, ‘Aleuria aurantia’, which has some reports in the biodiversity records in the midlands and is found at woodland edges.

My husband found the object in my photograph on the beach in Ventry following a recent high tide. It was about 4ft, or 1.2m, long, and the carapace was folded when we found it. Could it be a turtle?
Clair Shannon
Ventry, Co Kerry

It looks like a much-decayed young leatherback turtle. Turtles come north in the Atlantic as far as Ireland in summer, to the limit of an ocean temperature of 15 degrees, in search of the jellyfish on which they feed.

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.