Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)

The adult emperor moth is a truly spectacular insect. On the wing in April and May, the male of this large, day-flying moth species is a particularly striking sight, and can easily be mistaken for a butterfly due to its bright colours. It is a fairly widespread species, one that favours open scrub habitat on […]

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

With a flash of black and red wings the red admiral adds a splash of welcome colour to our gardens and woodland from late-spring to mid-autumn. This striking butterfly is a migratory species that makes its way up from the Mediterranean, moving north as the weather warms. Resident populations in North Africa and southern Europe […]

Bumblebees

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 […]

Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)

The freshwater pearl mussel is a bivalve mollusc that lives in clean, fast flowing rivers and streams. It is one of the longest lived invertebrates in the world, and with a lifespan of up to 130 years is Ireland’s longest living animal. Like all bivalve molluscs the freshwater pearl mussel has a shell that consists […]

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 […]

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 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 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 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 […]

Woodlouse (sub order Oniscidea)

Woodlice are fascinating, often much maligned little creatures that are found all over Ireland. Turn over a rotting log or large stone in the garden and you’ll probably find a teeming mass of woodlice underneath, attracted by the moist conditions that they need to survive. There are some 3,500 species of woodlice in the world, […]

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