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.

January 21

2018 January 21

Some unusual animals today from Scott Gilmore, who writes: My son and I went on a walk in the forest yesterday morning (January 20th) and we found a couple of interesting things. The first was another snail species which makes 16 species in Lantzville that I have found now. I am confident it is from the genus Pristiloma and it keys out to P. arcticum but that is not known from the island. The snail is only a little over 2mm wide [Jeremy Tatum writes: 2 mm! Viewers please note!] so it might have been overlooked or be a juvenile of a similar species?

We also found 3 unknown larvae. They were under the bark of a fallen tree. They are very transparent with dark heads. I have no idea what they might be.

Jeremy Tatum writes: I had no idea, either, to start with. I thought maybe Kingdom Animalia. But after a bit of searching around I now believe that these larvae are very likely larvae of a fungus gnat (Family Mycetophilidae). The snail and gnat families are both firsts for this Invertebrate Alert site.

[https://mail.uvic.ca/owa/]

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(Northern) Tightcoil

January 21

2018 January 21

Some unusual animals today from Scott Gilmore, who writes: My son and I went on a walk in the forest yesterday morning (January 20th) and we found a couple of interesting things. The first was another snail species which makes 16 species in Lantzville that I have found now. I am confident it is from the genus Pristiloma and it keys out to P. arcticum but that is not known from the island. The snail is only a little over 2mm wide [Jeremy Tatum writes: 2 mm! Viewers please note!] so it might have been overlooked or be a juvenile of a similar species?

We also found 3 unknown larvae. They were under the bark of a fallen tree. They are very transparent with dark heads. I have no idea what they might be.

Jeremy Tatum writes: I had no idea, either, to start with. I thought maybe Kingdom Animalia. But after a bit of searching around I now believe that these larvae are very likely larvae of a fungus gnat (Family Mycetophilidae). The snail and gnat families are both firsts for this Invertebrate Alert site.

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January 18

2018 January 18

 

   Jochen Moehr sends photographs of a moth and a caddisfly from Metchosin, and I am enormously indebted to Libby Avis for the identifications.  Libby writes: The moth is a Hypena, no question and I’m pretty sure it’s one of the darker Hypena californica – pronounced wedge at apex and I’ve also often seen them with a smaller offset dark dot between the orbicular spot and the trailing edge of the wing.

 

  The caddis fly is a limnephilid and it looks very much like a photo of Scott Gilmore’s on BG which was ID’d as Glyphopsyche irrorata. If you go into Bug Guide: www.bugguide.net and type in the number 1043396 in the search box in the top right, you’ll call it up. Have also attached a photo of one of ours which was confirmed by DNA, but Jochen’s is a bit darker and I think looks closer to Scott’s.

 


Hypena californica (Lep.: Erebidae)  Jochen Moehr

 

Caddisfly Glyphopsyche irrorata (Tri.: Limnephilidae)

 Jochen Moehr

 

Caddisfly Glyphopsyche irrorata (Tri.: Limnephilidae) Libby Avis

 

January 17

2018 January 17

 

   From time to time on this site we have had to debate and discuss the finer details of how to distinguish between the European Winter Moth Operophtera brumata and the native Bruce’s Winter Moth O. bruceata.  Just when we thought we were mastering the topic, Bill Katz got a photograph at Goldstream Park recently of a third species of Operophtera ­- the much less common – and native – O. danbyi.

 

Danby’s Winter Moth Operophtera danbyi (Lep.: Geometridae)  Bill Katz

 

 

   Some of our skilled contributors have been contributing some photographs of very tiny mites and springtails recently.  These each used to belong to single Orders:  Acari for the mites and Collembola for the springtails.  Both of these groups are now thought to have evolved from more than one ancestral group and are now split into several Orders.  Dr Heather Proctor has been advising me on current mite taxonomy, so I’m going to try to find time (it may take me a little while) to relabel the Orders on the several mite photograph captions on this site, so there’ll be some unfamiliar Order names appearing.  I shall try to continue with our present format of following each animal’s scientific name (genus and species) with Order and Family in parentheses.   While I have usually abbreviated Order names to three-letter abbreviations, I’ll write the unfamiliar mite and springtail Orders in full.

 

 

January 16

2018 January 16

 

   Our viewers are certainly doing their best to keep this site open during the bleak midwinter!  First, a photograph of another overwintering noctuid moth, Lithophane baileyi, from Jochen Moehr in Metchosin.  The last entry in this site for this species was on October 29.

 


Lithophane baileyi (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Moehr

 

   Next, a remarkable series of tiny springtails, and a tiny snail, from Thomas Barbin in and around his Highlands garden.  Springtails used to be the Order Collembola, but apparently Collembola is now promoted to Subclass, containing several Orders.  I am trying to keep consistent and up-to-date on this site and in its Index!  In the title under each photograph I generally print the genus and species in italics.  Then, in parentheses, the Order – usually abbreviated to three letters, but written in full for the springtails – and the Family (-idae).

 


Hymenaphorura cocklei (Poduromorpha:  Onychiuridae)  Thomas Barbin

 

 

Left:  Ptenothrix sp. (Symphypleona: Dicyrtomidae)

Right: Sminthurinus elegans (Symphypleona: Katiannidae)

Thomas Barbin

 


Vesicephalus occidentalis (Symphypleona: Katiannidae)  Thomas Barbin

 


Vesicephalus occidentalis (Symphypleona: Katiannidae)  Thomas Barbin

 

 

   And even as I am processing the pictures above, in comes another one – this time an unknown noctuid or erebid caterpillar found on Sidney Island Spit by Ian Cruickshank.

 

 

Unknown caterpillar (Lep.: Noctuidae or Erebidae)  Ian Cruickshank

 

Unknown caterpillar (Lep.: Noctuidae or Erebidae)  Ian Cruickshank