What are these tropical sea snails doing on a Donegal beach? Readers’ nature queries

Eye on Nature: Ethna Viney replies to your questions and observations

Ernan O’Donnell, Glenties, Co Donegal sent this photograph of foxes enjoying the garden furniture

Ernan O’Donnell, Glenties, Co Donegal sent this photograph of foxes enjoying the garden furniture

 

Recently while walking along the wall of a sandy inlet we followed a 3ft long worm to the end of the wall where it appeared to explode while giving birth to an egg sac. It then shrank and sank. Nick Burridge, Sneem, Co Kerry

Marine biologist Dr Brendan O’Connor says that it looks like a glycerid, a common marine worm that lives in burrows on the sea floor. They are also called bloodworms and emerge to spawn after which they die.

Janthina janthina, purple sea snails found in Donegal. Photograph: Susan McNamara
Janthina janthina, purple sea snails found in Donegal. Photograph: Susan McNamara

I found these purple sea snails on a beach at Cruit Island, Donegal. I read that they are normally found in the Carribean. Susan McNamara, Greystones, Co Wicklow

I found these violet sea snails on Pollen Strand, Ballyliffan, Donegal. Gillian Devenney, Ballyliffin, Co Donegal

Janthina janthina lives on the surface of the tropical ocean, floating on a raft of bubbles and feeding on siphonophores like velella, the by-the-wind sailor. They are quite fragile and are rare jetsam on our beaches.

Garden snails in Connemara: in very dry weather they collect on a firm surface and seal themselves into their shells with mucus to avoid drying out. Photograph: Mary Hearne
Garden snails in Connemara: in very dry weather they collect on a firm surface and seal themselves into their shells with mucus to avoid drying out. Photograph: Mary Hearne

I am fascinated with this picture of snails on a post taken near a beach in Connemara. Mary Hearne, Blackrock, Co Dublin

They are garden snails which, in very dry weather collect on a firm surface and seal themselves into their shells with mucus to avoid drying out.

Giant house spider, Tegenaria spp, in Ringsend
Giant house spider, Tegenaria spp, in Ringsend

A colleague working high on the incinerator saw this creature nearly at the top. Thomas Curtis, Ringsend, Dublin 4

It looks like the giant house spider, Tegenaria spp.

Ernan O’Donnell, Glenties, Co Donegal sent this photograph of foxes enjoying the garden furniture.

  • 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.
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