Acorn Barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides)

Barnacles are a common sight around Ireland’s rocky shores. These tiny animals form the familiar off-white patchwork that often covers large swathes of rock between the high and low water marks. Barnacles are crustaceans, relatives of crabs, shrimps and lobsters, although they were not firmly accepted as part of that group until as late as […]

Brimstone Butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni)

The butter-yellow wings of the male brimstone are a true herald of spring, and are credited by some as the inspiration behind the word “butterfly”. These pretty yellow butterflies are quite common, especially around open woodland, and are often the first butterflies to be seen in spring. Brimstones emerge from their winter hibernation as soon […]


The slow, lazy buzz of the bumblebee is a fundamental part of the Irish summer. These fat, furry, ponderous bees trundle from flower to flower, collecting pollen and nectar to support their growing colony. They liven up the summer garden, and provide an invaluable pollination service to the plants they visit. We have 18 species […]

Common Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)

The common or European cuttlefish is one of the most amazing creatures living in the seas around Ireland. Favouring the warmer conditions found around our south west, south and south east coasts this close relative of the squid and octopus belongs to an advanced group of molluscs known as cephalopods – widely regarded as the […]

Common Earwig (Forficula auricularia)

Earwigs really don’t deserve their bad reputation. The name earwig is derived from the old English ‘earwicga’ which means ‘ear beetle’. These harmless little insects are plagued by the perpetuation of an age-old superstition that earwigs crawl into the human ears at night and burrow into the brain to lay their eggs. In reality any […]

Common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus)

The chirping of grasshoppers is a familiar sound from Irish meadows and roadside verges during the summer months. Undoubtedly contributing its song to this chorus is the Common Field Grasshopper, which is one of our most common and widespread grasshopper species. It is found throughout Ireland, although it does becomes scarcer in the far north. […]

Common Frog Hopper (Philaenus spumarius)

Have you ever wondered what makes those little balls of froth, popularly known as “cuckoo spit”, that you find on plant stems during the summer? Blow gently on the froth and you’ll find your answer. Inside the frothy mass you’ll find one or more yellow-green insect nymphs – the young of the common frog hopper, […]

Common Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

This widespread jellyfish species is found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans across a variety of climate zones. Optimum water temperature for the species is between 9 and 19 degrees Celsius, but it can tolerate a much wider temperature range from -6 degrees Celsius to as high as 31 degrees Celsius. Also known as […]

Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris)

The common octopus is an extraordinary creature. It’s a molluscs – a relative of the slugs and snails you find in your garden, and along with the cuttlefish, squid and nautilus, belongs to a group of marine molluscs known as cephalopods. Literally translated the name means “head-footed”, and the bizarre-looking cephalopods certainly look as if […]

Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris)

There are few animals in Ireland that provoke as much negative sentiment in people as the common wasp. It’s right up there with the brown rat as one of the nation’s least favourite animals. In truth though wasps are only really a nuisance between late August and the end of September. For the rest of […]

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