What is this spectacular bug? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on a skull on the beach, a butterfly, a lumpfish, a dead snail, a whimbrel

A hawthorn shield bug

A hawthorn shield bug

 

We saw this spectacular bug on a trip to Mount Venus Nursery in Rathfarnham. Because it was so beautiful we wondered what it was.
Bronwyn (6) and Aoife (3) O’Connor, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
It’s a hawthorn shield bug, which feeds on the leaves and fruit of the hawthorn.

A seal skull
A seal skull

We found this skull on Five Fingers beach in Malin. It measures 17cm by 25cm with pointed, carnivorous teeth. Did it traverse the Atlantic?
Terry Magowan, Malin, Co Donegal
It looks like a seal skull. The length would suggest the grey seal, which means it is local. It got a crack on its head.

The orange-tip butterfly
The orange-tip butterfly

This butterfly flew on to the poppies at my front door and rested overnight. It was gone the following day.
Eimear O’Meara, Athlone, Co Westmeath
It’s the orange-tip butterfly showing its beautiful green-marked hind wings.

The female lumpsucker
The female lumpsucker

We came across this female lumpfish on the shore of Inishbofin, Co Galway.
Dr Jana Eccard, Portobello, Dublin 2
The female lumpsucker comes into the shallows to spawn and leaves afterwards. The male remains to guard the eggs against crabs and starfish. He also fans and stirs them to oxygenate them.

Anemones
Anemones

While examining anemones on Gurteen Beach near Roundstone [Co Galway] we placed a dead sea snail among the tentacles of one. It immediately grabbed the snail and pulled it in.
Rory McGuinn, Moycullen, Co Galway

A whimbrel, the same family as the curlew
A whimbrel, the same family as the curlew

I thought this was a curlew, but my friend Jean says it’s a whimbrel. Who is right?
Nessa Nelligan, Bere Island, Co Cork
It’s a whimbrel, the same family as the curlew but smaller and with a shorter bill. They move north in spring from wintering in Africa to breeding grounds in Shetland and Iceland.

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Include a postal address.

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