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Friday, September 14th 2012

On today's Mooney Goes Wild,

We answer your moth and spider queries, find out about the world’s first elephant dissection which took place in Dublin over 300 years ago, learn why whale vomit is worth a small fortune, Terry brings us this week App Article about Autumn, and we hear about the Sligo students who are on the trail of the lonesome pine marten ...

The Island Landscape

RTÉ Television, in association with Mooney, is currently producing a major new documentary series on the history of the Irish landscape. The series will tell the story of how our landscape was created after the last major climatic event – the end of the last Ice Age, over ten thousand years ago.  And we want your help! Would you like to contribute video towards the TV series? Click here to find out what we're looking for!

Irish Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference

Derek mentioned the Irish Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference that will be taking place on September 29th and 30th - for more details see www.iwrt.ie/conference. The Pine Marten website on the IWRT will be updated regularly if you want to follow their progress http://iwrt.ie/pages/News-pinemarten.html.

Elephant Hawk Moths

Over the last few months, we’ve had a huge amount of e-mails from you, our listeners, asking our experts to identify various moths and spiders… here are just some of them:

Hi Derek, I wonder if you could find out what this little creature is… My dog was barking at it in the garden last night and drew my attention to it. I was going to pick it up but it seems to have a little horn like thing on the end of it's back and I was afraid it might sting. Hope you can solve the mystery, love the show, Helen, Co. Meath.

Elephant Hawk Moth

Marion in Galway was also intrigued by this mystery bug!

Hello, I found this creature last Saturday. When I found him, there was no sign of his head but I touched him and his head enlarged and he waved it from side to side. Can you name him and provide details about him. Regards, Marion Larkin, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

Elephant Hawk Moth

PJ Cully rang in. He discovered a caterpillar in his soil that is unlike anything he has seen in his 64 years. He says it is huge. About 70mm long and 12 mm diameter. It is green with 4 eyes. And he wondered what it could be…

And over in West Cork, Mary Clerkin was also wondering about this strange creature – she e-mailed us a photo and said: I found this in a dry environment in West Cork. What is it???

Elephant Hawk Moth

Well Marion in Wicklow thinks she may have identified our mystery bug:

Hi Derek and Eanna, I found this very large beautiful caterpillar on the lawn today and I think it is an Elephant Moth Caterpillar. If so, are these common in Ireland as I have never seen anything like this before. Its about 3 - 4 inches long and has a trunk type nose. Many thanks, Marian Molloy, Roundwood, Co. Wicklow

Elephant Hawk Moth

And we’ve also had a huge amount of listeners asking about SPIDERS! Matt Humphries sent in this query:

What kind of spider is this? Its body is about 1 and a half inches. The picture was taken in Ratoath.

Eibhlin Ni Dhiomsaigh e-mailed us to say:

Hi Derek, I find your show very interesting and helpful; and I hope you and your team can help me. Recently I have noticed very large spiders around my house. I'm not sure but I think that they may be Wood Louse Spiders as I think they are coming from a damp wooden/ cement area in my house. Could you please let me know: 1. How to get rid of them successfully; and 2. Are they dangerous? Best regards and God Bless, Eibhlin.

Jason Cotter wanted us to identify this spider that he found lurking in his bathroom:

Hi Derek, Just wondering if you can identify what this spider is? It's huge and was in our bath tub. He was eating another spider. We have it in a container if you need it.

And finally Frank sent us in a photo of an amazing spiders web, and said:

Hi Derek, I'm fascinated how they make these elaborate webs. Could you or Eanna explain? Regards Frank  

Dublin's Elephant Dissection

Did you know that the world’s first elephant dissection took place on the street here in Dublin more than 330 years ago? This is just one of the many astonishing facts you can learn if you choose to take a tour with Mary Mulvihill from Ingenious Ireland. Mary is probably best known for her book of the same name and her tours include Dublin Rocks and Blood and Guts. But we were more interested in the Dublin Elephant, so we sent our reporter, Terry Flanagan, off to the city centre to find out more...

Moby Sick!

The classic tale of Moby Dick, the 1851 novel by Herman Melville, tells the story of Ishmael and Captain Ahab, who seek out an enigmatic sperm whale. So that's Moby Dick - but have you heard of Moby Sick?!

8-year old Charlie Naysmith was out walking on a beach in Bournemouth recently when he saw a funny lump in a patch of seaweed. Imagine his surprise when he took it home and learned that it was, in fact, rare whale vomit, known as “ambergris”, and is worth a small fortune!

Floating Gold: A Natural And Unnatural History Of Ambergris

One man has spent the last number of years in the pursuit of ambergris – and recently published a book: Floating Gold: A Natural And Unnatural History Of Ambergris. He is molecular biologist Chris Kemp, originally from Birmingham but now lecturing in Michigan State University in America, and he joins Derek and the panel on the line from Michigan today. Floating Gold: A Natural And Unnatural History Of Ambergris was published in May 2012 by University of Chicago Press; the ISBN is 978-0226430362 and the RRP is €19.

App Article: Autumn: What's It All About? (by Terry Flanagan)

Well, it depends if you are a plant or an animal. If you are an animal, Autumn is about one of two things; - preparing for Migration or Hibernation. Winter is just around the corner and all animals must prepare. Many bird species, for example, swallows and terns, leave Ireland for warmer climates. Before they go, they must fatten up for the journey. They may have to travel thousands of miles and will need plenty of energy to see them through.

Others, bats and hedgehogs, decide to sleep through the bad weather. But they too must build up reserves during Autumn to see out the Winter.

As the poet John Keats put it: 'Autumn is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'. It is now the time for plants to think about setting seed. Throughout the summer, they have been busy building up food reserves to see them through the winter and to ensure that Life is continued into another generation.

To find out more, download the Mooney app, for iPhone and Android phones, to read the rest of Terry's article, and much more!

Rehabilitation Of Pine Martens

In June this year, a litter of Pine Martens were found on the roadside in Castlebar. The four kits were still suckling on their mother, but unfortunately, the mother was dead having been struck by a vehicle.
Luckily the four kits were uninjured. And, in the crucial hours that followed, the networks of the Irish Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust lit up in a frantic effort to rescue them. For more, Derek is joined in studio by Emma Higgs from the IWRT...

Today's Podcasts

Listener Queries: Moths and Spiders
Dublin's Elephant Dissection
Moby Sick! How Ambergris Is Floating Gold
App Article: Autumn: What’s It All About (Terry Flanagan)
Rehabilitation Of Pine Martens

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