What’s this pretty moth with the long snout? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on the elephant hawkmoth, giant house spider and the rare ant beetle

Elephant hawkmoth

Elephant hawkmoth

 

This insect with the most beautiful colours appeared on my patio one afternoon. – Ann Keogh, Ballyconneely, Co Galway
The elephant hawkmoth is indeed a beautiful native moth. It got its name from the trunk-like snout of its caterpillar.

Egg collar of the necklace shell
Egg collar of the necklace shell

I have often noticed these objects on the beach at Gormanston. They are rubbery and C-shaped. – Finola O’Carroll, Greenanstown, Co Meath
It’s part of the egg collar of the necklace shell, also known as the moon snail. The eggs are laid in a collar of jelly impregnated with sand, which hardens and is wound around the shell.

Bee orchid
Bee orchid

While walking near our home we found this flower. – Clodagh Kenny, The Maharees, Co Kerry
It’s the bee orchid, a native orchid that flowers erratically, often missing years.

Giant house spider
Giant house spider

We would like to know what kind of spider this is. It’s friendly and lives under a plant pot in our garden. – Harry (7) and Oisín (5) Conlon, Castleknock, Dublin 15
It’s the giant house spider. It must pop out to its web to catch flies.

Ant beetle
Ant beetle

We came across this red, black and white beetle just inside the door. – Peter Bishton, Bray, Co Wicklow
It’s the ant beetle, also known as the red-bellied clerid beetle. It lives among trees and preys on bark beetles. It is fairly rare in Ireland but has been reported in north Wicklow.

Badger
Badger

I took this photo of the Macetown Mill badger on my neighbour’s farm while he remains indoors cocooning from the coronavirus. – Tom Bannon, Macetown, Co Meath

Cinnabar moth
Cinnabar moth

I love colourful moths and their willingness to be photographed, This is the largest one to come into my bathroom. – Laurence Hamill, Newry, Co Down
The cinnabar moth is certainly colourful. Its caterpillar feeds on ragwort.

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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