What is this unicorn caterpillar? Readers’ nature queries

A snowy owls on Bere Island, a townie stick insect and tadpoles in Derrynane

Lime hawkmoth caterpillar

Lime hawkmoth caterpillar

 

I was hiking on Bere Island in Cork when I saw a huge white owl sitting on a wall near the Martello Tower. What type of owl is it and where did it come from? – Monica McMahon, Ennis, Co Clare
The snowy owl visits here from northern Europe and Iceland. It usually comes to the western coasts of Donegal and Mayo. This year one was seen in Co Clare and on the Great Blasket Island in Kerry.

My son Jack and his friend Scott found this beautiful unicorn caterpillar at the base of a tree on the green in our housing estate. We have identified it as a lime hawkmoth caterpillar. – Dave Dodd, Swords, Co Dublin
I noticed this very colourful caterpillar near my school in Deansgrange. I was fascinated with its yellow face and bright spotty back and horn. – Edin Kilpatrick (8), Cabinteely, Co Dublin
The lime hawkmoth is a recent arrival in this country and is now breeding here. The blue horn on the caterpillar is above its yellow tail.

I found this chap near the town. – Francis Thoma, Kenmare, Co Kerry
It’s the unarmed stick insect, Acanthoxyla inermis, found in the southwest for more than 100 years. The species came originally as an egg in potted plants from New Zealand.

There were three or four pools containing these tadpoles on outcrops of rock on the beach at Derrynane on August 28th. Could they belong to natterjack toads? – Judy Cassells, Midleton, Co Cork
The end of August is late for tadpoles, although some of those in your photo have started to grow legs.

I found this hairy caterpillar on my garden wall. What is it? – Joshua McGuinness (6), Headford, Co Galway
It’s the white-haired caterpillar of the nondescript, pale, miller moth. The hairs turn black before it pupates.

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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