What’s this spider called? Readers’ nature queries
Ethna Viney on the Kerry slug, the buff-tip moth, potato urchins and Dryad’s saddle
The toad spider (also called the walnut orb weaver), Nuctenea umbratica
We came across this spider while holidaying in Glenbeigh, Co Kerry. We thought it was a beetle but it had eight legs. – Theresa Moran, Walkinstown, Dublin 12
It’s the toad spider (also called the walnut orb weaver), Nuctenea umbratica, widespread in Britain and Northern Ireland, with some reports of it here in the midlands, Dublin and Co Cork. It may be more plentiful, but not seen or reported.
This slug was well camouflaged against a lichen-covered rock near Mount Brandon on the Dingle Peninsula. – Paddy Slattery, Chapelizod, Dublin 20.
That’s the famous Kerry slug, which likes limestone rocks with lichen and mosses. It’s a species found only in Kerry and some areas of west Cork, and also in Spain and Portugal.
This fungus is growing on the top of a 3m-high tree stump in west Cork. The largest is approximately 400mm high. – Ann Scroope Borgman, Courtmacsherry, Co Cork
Mycologist Dr Kieran Connolly tells me that it’s the bracket fungus Dryad’s saddle.
This guy had us fooled. We each saw him on a bench in Barleycove, Co Cork and dismissed him as a twig. Camouflage success! – The Kelly family, Monaghan.
It’s the buff-tip moth, indeed well camouflaged.
I found these shells on the beach at Shraigh in west Mayo. My grandad Tom and granny Mary Rose think they are sea urchins, but my Mum disagrees as they are different to ones she found in Kilkee. – James Reilly (aged 10), Belmullet, Co Mayo
They are potato urchins, also called sea potatoes.
I came across a field littered with thousands of empty cocoons at Mizen Head. Do they belong to a moth or a butterfly? – Breda Murphy, Kilkenny
They are the cocoons of the six-spot burnet moth, which has been very plentiful this year. Photo of the moth in Eye on Nature on August 17th.
Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at email@example.com. Please include a postal address.