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 ( 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.

April 13 morning

2016 April 13,  morning


   Some more wonderful pictures from the Highlands District from the last few days contributed by Thomas Barbin.  First, a leafhopper bug – the Blue-green Sharpshooter Hordnia atropunctata:



Hordnia atropunctata (Hem.: Cicadellidae)   Thomas Barbin


Two images of a sawfly, probably Tenthredinidae, not only because this is the largest sawfly family, but because the other families usually have rather distinctive antennae.   I am reminded that this site is perpetually in need of someone who can help with Hymenoptera identification, so, if that is you, please let us know!


Sawfly  (Hym.:  Tenthredinidae)   Thomas Barbin

Sawfly  (Hym.:  Tenthredinidae)   Thomas Barbin

Now a close-up of a click beetle.


Click beetle  (Col.:  Elateridae)   Thomas Barbin

If you have strong nerves, proceed to the next photograph, rated PG:


Ant  (Hym.:  Formicidae – Formicinae)  Thomas Barbin


If you managed to get past that one, prepare for the last two – jumping spiders.  Robb Bennett suggest they may both possibly be Evarcha proszynskii, but he says that he can’t be completely sure.


Jumping spider, possibly Evarcha proszynskii (Ara.:  Salticidae)  Thomas Barbin

Jumping spider, possibly Evarcha proszynskii (Ara.:  Salticidae)  Thomas Barbin

Time for something a little more gentle, I think.   Here is a Moss’s Elfin, photographed by Jeremy Gatten.


Moss’s Elfin Incisalia mossii (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Jeremy Gatten.


And a caterpillar that Jeremy Tatum found on Snowberry at Swan Lake on April 12:


Euceratia securella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum

Jeremy Tatum writes:  The moth below was on the wall of my Saanich apartment a week or so ago.  Eric LaGasa suggests that it might be Agonopterix fusciterminella, though it would need dissection to confirm.


Possibly Agonopterix fusciterminella (Lep.: Depressariidae)  Jeremy Tatum


The moth below, identified by Eric LaGasa as Argyrotaenia franciscana, from Blenkinsop Lake, was reared from Oemleria cerasiformis.


Argyrotaenia franciscana (Lep.: Tortricidae)    Jeremy Tatum


April 12

2016 April 12


   Rebecca Reader-Lee sends photographs of four moths from North Highlands, April 11.  All are members of notoriously tricky pairs, and Jeremy Tatum is grateful to Jeremy Gatten for help with the identifications.  It turned out that we agreed on the identification of the first three – Feralia comstocki, Orthosia transparens, and Hypena californica.  The fourth is a not-quite-pristine-fresh example of one or other of the very tricky pair Triphosa haesitata / Coryphista meadii, and it turned out that Jeremy opted for one of them and Jeremy opted for the other!  So – if anyone else would like to throw his or her hat into the fray and say (with reasons!) which of the two you think it probably is – do please let us know!


Feralia comstocki (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee

Orthosia transparens (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee

 Hypena californica (Lep.: Erebidae – Hypeninae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee

Is it Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)?

Or is it Triphosa haesitata (Lep.: Geometridae)?

Rebecca Reader-Lee

We haesitate to say.



The next moth, found on April 10 by John Costello in Grant Park, where the path crosses Amblewood Drive, near the top of the Cordova Ridge, and photographed by Chantal Jacques, is a bit easier to identify!  It is a female Ceanothus Silk Moth Hyalophora euryalus.



Ceanothus Silk Moth Hyalophora euryalus (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Chantal Jacques


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here are a moth and a beetle (weevil) from my Saanich apartment, April 12.


Eupithecia ravocostaliata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

Raspberry Weevil Otiorhynchus singularis (Col.: Curculionidae)  Jeremy Tatum

   Jody Wells sends us a bit of a challenge.  What is this on the eye of a swan?

Jeremy Tatum writes:  At first glance it looked to me a bit like a collembolan, but in view of its habitat (!), it is almost certainly a biting louse, also known as chewing louse, also known as bird louse (Class Insecta,  Order Phthiraptera, probable Family Philopteridae).  And, for interest, this is not the first time we have had a phthirapteran on this site!  We had one on a Northern Saw-whet Owl on December 4, 2011.

In addition to the challenge of identifying the louse, there is also the challenge of identifying the swan!  The picture was taken at Esquimalt Lagoon, where a Trumpeter Swan and a Tundra Swan have been together in close company for some months.  There is no doubt that the louse is on the head of the Tundra Swan, and the swan in the background is the Trumpeter Swan.



Biting louse (Phthiraptera) on Tundra Swan       Jody Wells

Biting louse (Phthiraptera)

on Tundra Swan

Jody Wells


   And, in case any of you were wondering what a “collembolan” is (see previous paragraph) here is an absolutely remarkable photograph of a collembolan photographed by Thomas Barbin in the Highlands District On April 7, and this is the first collembolan to feature on this site.  Collembolans, or springtails, are tiny, tiny animals, many of which are found in the soil or in the forest duff.  This one is a globular springtail Ptenothrix maculosa.  You’ll notice that I wrote “animal” rather than “insect”.  Springtails were at one time classified as insects, but, as we all know, taxonomy forever changes!  It is my understanding that the Phylum Arthropoda now includes a Subphylum Hexapoda, and the Hexapoda contains two Classes, Insecta and Entognatha.  So, springtails are no longer insects – they are entognaths!  And globular springtails belong to the Order Symphypleona, and the one illustrated below is in the Family Dicyrtomidae.  At least I think I’ve got that right!   More pictures from Thomas Barbin tomorrow.  Jeremy Tatum.


Ptenothrix maculosa (Symphypleona: Dicyrtomidae)  Thomas Barbin





April 11

2016 April 11


   Jeremy Gatten writes:  I have an interesting moth from today that appears to be a melanistic Eupithecia graefii.  It was very sooty overall and the photo was done with the flash on, so it’s brightened up a bit.  It has the brown costa marks.  So, the Eupithecia graefii was my highlight of the day because I’ve never seen a melanistic moth before.  I don’t think any Eupithecia species is that dark, so I believe I’ve identified it right.  I find that exciting!  Other moths from yesterday at Hans Helgesen (which I didn’t even mention as the location), include: Cladara limitaria, Lithophane petulca, Feralia comstocki, Eupithecia ravocostaliata, Hydriomena nubilofasciata, and H. manzanita.


Melanistic Eupithecia graefii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Gatten


   Nathan Fisk sends a photograph of a Western Brown Elfin sunning itself on the lawns of Abkhazi Gardens, April 9.


Western Brown Elfin  Incisalia iroides  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Nathan Fisk



   Annie Pang sends interesting photographs of Mesoleuca gratulata (White-ribbon Carpet) nectaring at the tiny flowers of Cleavers (Goosegrass) Galium aparine at Gorge Park.

Mesoleuca gratulata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Annie Pang


Mesoleuca gratulata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Annie Pang















April 10

2016 April 10


   Just a gentle reminder:   It is helpful, when reporting an invertebrate, to give the species, where it was seen, and the date. (Not “yesterday”, or “this evening”  –  but the date!)  If you don’t know the species, send a photograph, if you can, and we’ll do our best.  But an unidentified species without a photograph is a bit hard to post!  And please also remember that, when sending a photograph, it is a HUGE, HUGE help if you would send the photograph as an attachment rather than in the body of the message!   Thanks to all.


   Ron Flower writes:  Today, Sunday April 10th  [thank you!  – Jeremy], at Prospect Lake power lines I saw numerous Western Spring Azures and Sara Orangetips.  The highlight was a Two-banded Grizzled Skipper (also called “checkered” skipper – though on this site we are using the word “grizzled” for all Pyrgus skippers and “chequered” for Carterocephalus skippers, rather than mixing them haphazardly.   Jeremy].  The skipper was on the power line trail opposite from where the Yellow-breasted Chat was a few years ago down in a deep ravine area.