What is this creature that crashed into my lighted window? Readers’ nature queries

Your notes and queries for Eanna Ní Lamhna

Maybug

Maybug

 

What is this creature that crashed into my lighted window one night at the end of May? Is it an invasive species?
Catherine Taaffe, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

It is a native species – the maybug or cockchafer – out on the pull. This is their mating season.

We saw this on our field trip to Vandeleur woods. Can you tell us about it?
3rd/4th class, St Senan’s NS, Kilrush, Co Clare

It is a cuckoo spit on a buttercup stalk, made by a lovely green insect called a spittlebug or froghopper. The froth protects the creature inside from been recognised as food by the birds.

Cuckoo spit
Cuckoo spit

I found these two partial shells on a beach near Glenbeigh, Co Kerry. They are about palm sized. What are they?
Michael Cahill, via email

They are the shells of the spider crab. Females come close to the shore from deeper waters while releasing their eggs at the time of the May full moon.

Spider crab shells
Spider crab shells

Could this be some sort of a nest? It was hanging from a tree near the beach at Helen’s Bay, Co Down. I couldn’t see an entrance hole.
Sara Robb, Holywood, Co Down

It actually looks like the nest of a weaver bird. Some of these may be kept in captivity locally and one may have escaped.

Weaver bird nest
Weaver bird nest

We have a small wildlife pond beside our house. We found this in the mud at the bottom. What is it?
Conall (9) & Alice (7) O’Regan Mills, via email

It is a harmless (to us) freshwater leech. It feeds on the blood of pond snails and has a sucker at each end of its body.

Freshwater leech
Freshwater leech

The goldfinches were drawn into our garden by the sunflower hearts.
Caoimhe Tyndall Kinnegad, Co Westmeath

It is great to continue feeding garden birds during the breeding season. Adults get a handy meal and have more time and energy to hunt for invertebrate food for their nestlings.

Goldfinch
Goldfinch

Have you a nature query, observation or photo you would like to share with The Irish Times? Submit it, with location of the image, to irishtimes.com/eyeonnature

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