Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney
My son found this plant growing in a field ( right). It’s about 1 feet tall and the roots, like ragwort, are very hard to pull up. Gillian Graham, St Johnston, Co Donegal
It’s datura, a poisonous, annual plant also called thorn apple. All parts are poisonous, particularly the seeds. Can you identify this insect and say why we have so many of them in the house ( right)? We have no access to grass, etc. Pauline Garavan, Westport, Co Mayo
They are firebrats, relatives of silverfish. They get into houses through cracks or in cardboard boxes, old books or furniture, and they feed on cereals and paper. I spotted these mushrooms on my father’s lawn ( right). They have a very interesting exterior – almost as if they have been turned inside-out. Are they unusual? Niamh Foran, Drumshambo, Co Leitrim It’s a shaggy ink cap, also called lawyer’s wig, and is quite common. I found this little guy while picking blackberries ( right). I wonder if he is responsible for the holes in the nettles? Ann Begley, Dundalk, Co Louth
It’s the nymph of the common green shield bug which feeds on the leaves of a variety of shrubs and trees. At the end of September this bug was flying around my house ( left). It must have come in through an open window. Agatha Masterson, Lahey, Co Donegal
It’s a sexton or burying beetle. Working in pairs, they bury small carcasses, such as those of mice or birds, by digging a hole under them. The female then lays her eggs near the buried corpse, and both adults and larvae feed on the carrion.
Clockwise from left: the common green shield bug; a shaggy ink cap, also called lawyer’s wig; a sexton or burying beetle