This blog provides an informal forum for terrestrial invertebrate watchers to post recent sightings of interesting observations in the southern Vancouver Island region. Please send your sightings by email to Jeremy Tatum (jtatum@uvic.ca). Be sure to include your name, phone number, the species name (common or scientific) of the invertebrate you saw, location, date, and number of individuals. If you have a photograph you are willing to share, please send it along. Click on the title above for an index of past sightings.The index is updated most days.

December 8

2019 December 8

 

   Jochen Möhr sends more Operophtera (winter moth) photographs from Metchosin.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I believe (note the uncertainty!) the first is O. occidentalis, and the rest are O. brumata.

 

 

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

   Jeremy continues:  Today I went out to Goldstream Park, and there were hundreds of Operophtera at the nature house.  I believe both brumata and occidentalis were there, though I believe most were occidentalis.  Many, of course, I couldn’t  be sure of either way, and unfortunately I didn’t spot any of the rarer danbyi.  I took a few photographs of moths that are surely occidentalis.


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 

   I also took two photographs of a female.   I can’t clearly see the wing stubs from the photographs, although I think if it had been brumata, the wing stubs would have been easily visible – large enough to cover the thorax, so I think this female is probably occidentalis.

 


Operophtera (probably occidentalis) (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera (probably occidentalis) (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 

 

December 7

2019 December 7

 

    Mr E sends photographs of a small slug that he found on Prospect Lake Road on December 6.  Can any viewer identify the species?

 

Unidentified slug   Mr E

 

Unidentified slug   Mr E

 

 

Unidentified slug   Mr E

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  As part of our continuing efforts to sort out the winter moths (Operophtera sp.), Jochen Möhr has photographed a series of them in Metchosin.   Some are fairly straightforward; most of them are tough!   I *think*  (but it is only a think) that the first one below may be O. occidentalis, and the rest are probably O. brumata.  In the first one below, note the dark streak that goes from the centre of the forewing down to the middle of the outer margin.  I have labelled the photographs below according to my best efforts – but I can’t guarantee 100 percent that they are all absolutely correct.

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

(A possible trace of occidentalis?)

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

(A possible trace of occidentalis?)

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

December 6

2019 December 6

 

     Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:  During my – unsuccessful – search for female Operophtera, I found a dead fly, which looked strange to me.  After taking pictures, I have the suspicion that it is a fairly ordinary fly and that the grey rings might be some fungal growth.

 

  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Jochen is right on both counts – the fly is “ordinary” and the growth is a fungus.  I cannot be totally certain of the fly, but I believe it is most likely the Common House Fly Musca domestica.   This fly isn’t actually all that “ordinary” – many of the flies that come into my apartment are usually Fannia, or Calliphora, or Pollenia – I don’t often see genuine Musca.  Also some tachinids look quite like this fly, and with quite similar wing venation.  However, Musca domestica at present looks like the best fit. We are grateful to Bill Savale for confirming that the growth is indeed a fungus, which probably infected the fly while it was still alive, and subsequently killed it.  Bill tells us that the fungus is a phycomycete, Entomophthora muscae.

 


Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae) infected with Entomophthora muscae    Jochen Möhr

 


Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae) infected with Entomophthora muscae    Jochen Möhr

 


Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae) infected with Entomophthora muscae    Jochen Möhr

 


Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae) infected with Entomophthora muscae    Jochen Möhr

 

   In spite of its being December, there are more invertebrate photographs in the queue – they’ll have to wait until tomorrow!

December 5

2019 December 5

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Well, I suppose I asked for it!   Just when I was beginning to think that I

knew the difference between  Operophtera brumata and O. occidentalis, Jochen Möhr sends a bunch of

 Operophtera  photographs from Metchosin, most of which are shaking my confidence!   In fact,  I

 believe (but I could well be wrong) that all are probably O.  brumata,  though I’m going to label the first

one below as “sp.”,  since it has a small claim to be possibly occcidentalis!

 

  I’d be interested in photographs of females.

 

  Jochen also sends a picture of a Drepanulatrix ­species, presumably either monicaria or secundaria – but let’s just leave that as “sp.” for the time being!

 


Operophtera sp.  (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Drepanulatrix sp. (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

 

 

 

December 4

2019 December 4

 

    Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin that the Operophtera are not only hanging in, they are getting more –  and he even has a late Drepanulatrix.  

 



Drepanulatrix sp. (Lep.:  Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera sp. (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera sp. (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

   Gordon Hart photographed an Operophtera on the sliding glass doors of his Highlands house; it seems to be Operophtera brumata:

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Gordon Hart

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I had hoped to photograph one at my Saanich apartment today, but, unusually, there were none there – only a single Erannis, which I shall dutifully label Erannis vancouverensis, although I am more convinced than ever that it is really E. defoliaria.

 


Erannis vancouverensis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum