What is this insect that landed on my Kindle? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on the darter dragonfly, club-horned sawfly and rat-tailed maggots

A darter dragonfly in spotted in Glanmire, Co Cork

This insect landed on my Kindle when I was reading Joseph O'Connor's Shadowland in the garden. 
Deirdre Wrixon, Glanmire, Co Cork 
It's the male common darter dragonfly.

The flecked marsh orchid in Galway

In July we came across this flower when walking in the bog. Is it a bog orchid? 
Amy Walsh, Inver, Co Galway 
It's the flecked marsh orchid. The bog orchid is yellow.

A club-horned sawfly spotted in Clonmacnoise

This gilded insect landed beside me when I was visiting Clonmacnoise. 
Helen Doherty Castleshane, Co Monaghan 
It's the club-horned sawfly with metallic green-gold stripes. It lays its eggs on devil's bit scabious so the larvae can feed.

A rat-tailed maggot in Co Mayo

I found these slimy creatures in my comfrey brew. They were about 2cm long with a 3-4cm threadlike tail. Are they harmless or an invasive species? 
Michael Ruddy, Castlebar, Co Mayo 
These are the rat-tailed maggots, larvae of the drone fly, a hoverfly that lays its eggs in stagnant water. The tail is used as a periscope to breathe.


In mid-July a flock of black-headed gulls were twisting, turning, rising and diving over the local gardens catching insects. What could be of interest to such large birds?  
Brian Collins, Raheny, Co Dublin 
They were feeding on the mating flight of ants. The young queens and males emerge from their nests in amazing local co-ordination, when the weather conditions are right. The mated queens return to found new colonies; the others die.

A lizard spotted in Co Kerry

I spotted this melanistic, common lizard locally.  
Vinny Hyland, Derrynane, Co Kerry

Damselflies spotted in Donegal

I saw these damselflies along the Duff river. 
Emer O'Shea, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal 
The blue male and green female are beautiful demoiselle.

viney@anu.ie ]