What’s this insect I spotted on a hedgerow? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on the caddis fly, black oil beetle, holly blue butterfly, seven spot ladybird and stick insect

I spotted this little guy on a hedgerow between Ballyshannon and Belleek during the warm spell at the end of March. – Emer O'Shea, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
It's a caddis fly, Philopotamus montanus, the yellow-spotted sedge fly, which is found locally all around Ireland near upland streams.

My friends and I spotted this large beetle on the Ballycotton cliffs in Co Cork. It was trying to dig its way into the side of the earthen path. – Lorraine Guerin, Dundrum, Dublin 14
It's the black oil beetle, and it was laying its eggs in a burrow close to nesting solitary bees. The larvae make their way into a bee's nest and feed on the food store, eggs and young.

This small blue butterfly visited my garden. It was about half the size of the peacock butterfly. – James Armstrong, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh
It's the holly blue butterfly.

My nine-year-old daughter Róise discovered this ladybird on the timber holding up our bird feeder. We were curious about the yellow eggs. – Gráinne Curtin, Cahir, Co Tipperary
That's the 7-spot ladybird with her eggs. It's likely the birds that came to the feeder had an extra snack.


I found this object on Maghera Beach, near Ardara, Co Donegal. Is it fossilised shells? – Rosemary Tindal, Bruckless, Co Donegal.
The tubes are those of marine worms laid on some hard surface.

I found this stick insect on a rose bush at my home at the end of April. Is it very early in the season to see one? – Peggy O'Shanahan, Sneem, Co Kerry
The eggs of the stick insect, Acanthoxyla inermis, were laid last summer or autumn and they hatch in spring. The unarmed stick is a native of New Zealand which came in on imported plants many decades ago.

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.