A pelagic snail can float on the surface of the ocean using a raft of air bubbles

A pelagic snail can float on the surface of the ocean using a raft of air bubbles

While swimming at Cloghane in Liscannor, Co Clare, I came across this unusual sea snail. Apparently they float from the tropics. James McCusker

There are many things to see this summer. Catherine Ciechanowicz found some on Nairn beach in Donegal, while James Armstrong found his grandchildren on Dugort beach in Achill. It is actually a blue sea snail, a pelagic snail that is able to float on the surface of the ocean using a raft of trapped air bubbles, visible in your image, and eats small animals such as jellyfish in the Siphonophore group. They are Atlantic species.

What these little creatures seem to do is float in a bowl of rainwater and non-peat compost – maybe coconut shavings. There were hundreds but after a few days they were very few. Aileen Mulhern

They are, you will be pleased to know, the larval stage of the culicine group of mosquitoes. While females can bite when they are older, they are not the group that carries malaria. They quickly grow from pupae to flying adults, which is where they go. They love to lay eggs in stagnant bowls filled with rain and floral sauces, so this summer was perfect for them.

I saw these colorful plants on the stems of wild roses on a country road. I’ve never seen them before and I’m curious. Ethna Sheehan, Co Waterford

As was Mairéad Blackall in Co Kildare and a student in Co Offaly, who sent in pictures too. They are galls of the gall type (Diplolepis rosae) and go by the name Robin’s pincushion. A solitary wasp lays its eggs on a wild rose, which causes the plant’s tissues to form this gall, which provides plenty of food for the larvae that grow inside.

This beautiful piece was at the bottom of a laundry basket that I had left outside. It didn’t look good but it went away in the afternoon. Diana Gilbert, Coork

I’m not sure how to tell if a hawkmoth looks happy or unhappy. This colorful moth turns into a snake-like caterpillar in this column last week after spending some time as a chrysalis.

We found this interesting tusk-like object on the beach at Inishbofin. It’s smooth to the touch despite the weather, and looks like honey on either end. Could it be part of the rib of a large cetacean? Jack O’Farrell Co Galway

Kevin Flannery of Dingle Aquarium agrees that it is a whale bone, but suggests that it is the remains of a whale’s lower jaw bone rather than a rib. Perhaps one of the baleen whales, with baleen plates instead of teeth that they use to sift food out of the water.

Sinéad Craig of the Inishowen Wildlife Club sent in this excellent photo of an osprey, which was seen fishing near the river Bann near Coleraine at the end of August. Ospreys were a breeding species in Ireland until the late 1700s. They are highly migratory species and mostly winter in the estuaries and mangrove rivers of West Africa. They fly over Ireland on their way to and from their breeding grounds in Scotland and Scandinavia. They live entirely on fish, which they catch following a jump from 40m, entering the water first. A pair successfully bred for the first time this year in Fermanagh, and the first group of 10 osprey chicks from Norway were released in the south-east at the end of August as part of the NPWS release programme.

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