Mink


Irish Name: Minc Mheiriceánach
Latin Name: Neovison vison

The mink has a long slender body, very thick dark-brown fur, and partially webbed feet - mink spend a lot of time in water. They are carnivorous.It is a lot bigger than a stoat, but smaller than an otter, with a long agile frame, a male mink is 50-60cm in length (nose to tail) and weighs 0,9-1.3 kg. Females are noticeably smaller, weighing 0.5-0.8 kg. Mink live for about 4 years in the wild.
Large numbers of mink were bred, raised and killed on fur farms. Some animals escaped, and others were released on purpose. The mink readily adapted to their new environment and quickly spread. Mink are now found in every county in Ireland.
Mink are hunters or predators and catch fish such as perch, eels and crayfish where they are available. They have a negative effect on stocks of fish and waterfowl, and are widely regarded as a pest.
They usually breed in late February, and the pregnancy may be 1 month or delayed until up to 80 days. 3-5 young kits are born blind and naked, but grow very fast and are weaned at 8 weeks. They leave to find their own territories in August or September.


nature study

Otter


Name: Madra Uisce / Dobharcú
Latin Name: Lutra lutra)

Although otters have a widespread distribution in Ireland, the lakes and river associated with blanket bogs are one of their favoured habitats. They typically feed on fish which inhabit lakes and rivers and their droppings are often seen along water margins. Ireland is considered to contain one of the healthiest populations of otters in Europe and the species is protected by law.


Marsh Fritillary Butterfly


Latin Name: Euphydras aurinia,
Irish Name: Fritileán Réisc 

The Marsh Fritillary is the only Irish butterfly species protected under the EU Habitats Directive. This species declined severely during the 20th century due to loss of uncultivated grasslands; overgrazing on remaining habitat; and its need for extensive habitat area and wildlife corridors.
Adult butterflies are marked in chequered marking of gold and brown on a black background. Underside of the wings is patterned with yellow orange and black without any silver coloration at all. The eggs are yellow, identified by being in a large batch, and the larvae are black. The Marsh Fritillary is usually to be found in damp heathy grassland.  The main food plant of the Marsh Fritillary is the Devil's bit scabious.


Damselflies
and Dragonflies



Dragonflies are among the most spectacular of all the creatures of the bogland. They spend their early years as an aquatic nymph stage, feeding on a range of small aquatic animals in bog pools. These nymphs then develop into the spectacular adult dragonflies which live only for a couple of months. Dragonflies are especially common is areas of cutover blanket bog where there are larger areas of open water in which to complete their life cycle.
The predatory larval stages of dragonflies and damselflies feed on waterborne insects before metamorphosing into winged adult dragonflies and damselflies. The adult dragonflies and damselflies prey on other insects. Some species eventually lay their eggs directly into stems of vegetation in bog pools, while others scatter their eggs over the water. Dragonflies and Damselflies are members of the Odonata family. The adults are skilful predators catching insects in mid-flight before devouring them. Their prey has little chance of escape because their excellent flying skills enable them to fly forward, backward, sideways and hover and they can fly fast and change direction rapidly. This is because they have two sets of wings, which don’t have to beat in unison. The nymphs (the first stage after hatching from the egg) live in the water for about a year, where they eat almost any moving animal from insect larvae to tadpoles and small fish. As adults they only live for 2-4 weeks. Dragonflies have large eyes located at the front of their head; while damselflies have smaller eyes located at each side of their head. Dragonflies tend to hold their wings open at rest, while damselflies usually keep theirs closed along the length of their body. They have territories and you can watch them flying up and down these in search of food on calm sunny afternoons. The adults are always seen near water, along lake-edges and ponds, riverbanks and marshes, because the nymph stage is aquatic .Dragonflies were among the first flying insects to appear on the earth and their fossils have been found in 350 million year old rocks.


Raft Spider


Latin name: Dolomedes fimbriatus


The bog spider is relatively frequent on blanket bogs where it is generally found close to bog pools. It is a large species which has distinctive yellow/white bands down its brown body. It waits along the margins of pools and feels for vibrations on the water surface. Once an insect 4x4lands on the surface it darts out and catches its prey.



Peacock Butterfly


Latin Name: Inachis io
Irish Name: Péacóg

The Peacock is probably the most beautiful of all the Irish species and fortunately is widespread throughout most of Ireland. It has predominantly red wings with superbly coloured large eyespots. The underside is a very dark brown. It hibernates  One of its favourite haunts is among nettles.  The Peacock Butterfly hibernates through the winter. It folds up its wings and blends into a hollow tree or wooden shed. Caterpillar: black, shiny and spiky


Common Carpet Moth


Latin Name: Epirrhoe alternate

Adults are richly marked and often quite variable. The wing colour is generally white, although most of this is obscured by the greyish markings on the outer margin of the forewings and darker central band, which in some individuals may be broken or incomplete. Found on a variety of habitats including woodland rides, clearings, heaths and suburban gardens. Adults become active from dusk onwards and are attracted to light in moderate numbers. They are frequently encountered during the daytime and are easily flushed from low growing vegetation, where they often rest. The larvae can be found in June and July and again in September on various bedstraws Galium spp.



Pond skater


Latin Name: Gerris lacustris


Pond skaters float on the surface of water sensing vibrations and ripples with the sensitive hairs on their legs and bodies. Pond skaters are about 20mm long. They feed on a diet of insects.

Physical description:
A thin dark brown or grey insect with round eyes that project from the sides of its head. Except for the front pair, the legs are long. The body and legs are covered in dense velvety hairs, which prevent the pond skater from falling through the surface of the water.
These insects inhabit ponds and areas of still water. Pond skaters float on the surface of water sensing vibrations and ripples in the water with sensitive hairs on their legs and bodies. If an insect accidentally falls into the water, the ripples it makes will tell the pond skater exactly where it is and often what it is. The pond skater will dart across the surface of the pond to catch the stricken insect. Pond skaters also hunt other surface-dwelling insects including nymphs of their own species.
Pond skaters are very agile on the surface of the water and can jump to evade a predator.
This species will fly far from water to hibernate through the winter. They emerge from hibernation in late April.Pond skaters mate on the surface of the water, the male uses his short front legs to grip onto the female. They lay their eggs on land.



Great Diving
Beetle


Latin Name:
Dytiscus marginalis


The great diving beetle is a large aquatic diving beetle native to Europe and northern Asia, and is particularly common in England. The great diving beetle, true to its name, is a rather sizable insect. The larvae can grow up to 2.4 ins in length, while the adults are generally between 1.1–1.4 ins.
These beetles live in fresh water, either still or slow-running, and seem to prefer water with vegetation. They are dark-coloured (brown to black) on their back and wing cases and yellow on their abdomen and legs. The male's wing cases are shiny, while those of the female are finely grooved. A voracious predator, this beetle hunts a wide variety of prey, including other insects, tadpoles, and small fish.
They are able fliers, and fly usually at night. They use the reflection of moonlight to locate new water sources. This location method can sometimes cause them to land on wet roads or other hard wet surfaces.Before they dive, they collect air bubbles in their wing cases which goes through the spiracles. The jaws of a great diving beetle are strong compared to their body size.



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


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