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.

November 29

 

2018 November 29

 

   Victoria West sends photographs of a female European Winter Moth from her backyard in the Mount Douglas Cross Road area, November 28.

 

Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Victoria West

 

Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Victoria West

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  One of the things we are striving to do is to find some reliable means of distinguishing between the European Winter Moth O. brumata, and the difficult-to-find native O. bruceata.  We think we may have found small differences in the male’s wing pattern, in the stemmata (ocelli) of the caterpillars, and even in the cremaster of the pupae!   Another possibility (we are not yet sure) is that the vestigial wing-stubs of the female adult bruceata are even smaller than those of brumata.  If this proves to be so, we would have the surprising result that the females of the two species are easier to distinguish than the males.

 

  This example has rather strongly-marked wing-stubs, and I therefore considered the possibility that it might be Erannis rather than Operophtera, but I am now pretty  sure that it is Operophtera brumata.

 

   Another of these wingless female geometrids worth looking out for is Phigalia plumogeraria – which generally appears in February and March.