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.

July 1

2015 July 1

 

   Gordon Hart writes: The other day I saw a large orange fly-by while doing a butterfly count, but I think the mystery was solved today when I saw a Robin carrying a large orange and black moth. It is a Sheep Moth, Hemileuca eglanterina. 

 

Turdus migratorius (Pas.: Turdidae) and Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae)

Gordon Hart

 

   Gordon also writes that he had a Grey Hairstreak in his Highlands garden today, and a Painted Lady there yesterday.

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Today, while looking for the Red-eyed Vireo at Blenkinsop Lake, I found a most remarkable geometrid moth, Nematocampa resistaria.  It kept very still, because it knew that I didn’t have a camera with me. (If I had, it would have moved, as all photographers know.) It had remarkable funny-shaped constrasty patches of dark and light on it, being a nice example of disruptive coloration.  These contrasty patches disguise its shape so that Red-eyed Vireos wouldn’t recognize it as being a moth.  If the adult Nematocampa resistaria is remarkable in its appearance, its caterpillar is even more so.  One was shown on this site on June 25, 2011.

 

   Also today I saw a fresh Red Admiral in Uplands Park.  All the same I am not sure that my prediction of a good crop of Red Admirals this summer is going to happen – many of the nettle patches in the area have been cut down by municipal crews in the last few days.

June 30

2015 June 30

 

   Rob Gowan and I finally managed to get the better of our computers, which were initially doing their best to prevent me from posting his picture of Anarta nigrolunata.  This is a moth of the alpine meadows high in the mountains, and it was photographed by Rob right at the top of Mount Washington during the June 13 VNHS trip there.  It has a nice furry thorax, presumably to keep it warm during the chilly mountain-top nights.

 

Anarta nigrolunata (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Rob Gowan

 

   Back home in Victoria on June 27, Rob photographed an Autographa californica sitting on his garden tap – presumably a thirsty moth!

 

Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae) Rob Gowan

 

   Cheryl Gowan photographed a Hesperumia latipennis in Metchosin on June 29.  This is a geometrid, whose caterpillar feeds on Ocean Spray.

 

Hesperumia latipennis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Cheryl Hoyle

   She also photographed a wasp-mimic beetle in View Royal, June 29, identified for us by Scott Gilmore.

 

Xestoleptura crassicornis (Col.: Cerambycidae) Cheryl Hoyle

 

 

   Annie Pang sends photographs of a green lacewing Chrysopa sp. and a brown lacewing.

 

Green lacewing Chrysopa sp. (Neu.: Chrysopidae)

Annie Pang

Brown lacewing (Neu.: Hemerobiidae)  Annie Pang

 

 

   Micromoth specialist Eric LaGasa has recently identified some of the micro moths

that have been photographed recently. Three of them turned out to be Archips rosana:

One of them was from the Metchosin Bioblitz, so I have forwarded the record to them just in case it’s an addition.  [Added later:  Apparently it was!]

Female Archips rosana (Lep.: Tortricidae) Jeremy Tatum

 

Female Archips rosana (Lep.: Tortricidae) Jeremy Tatum

 

Male Archips rosana (Lep.: Tortricidae) Jeremy Tatum

      The following three were photographed during the June 13 Mount Washington trip.

 

Possibly Dicrorampha vancouverana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Aziza Cooper

 

Ancylis sp. (Lep.: Tortricidae) Bill Katz

 

   Libby Avis suggested the identification of the one below.  We saw lots of them on Mount Washington.

 

Eana sp.: (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Bill Katz

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Adult Milbert’s Tortoiseshells started to emerge today from pupae resulting from caterpillars that I found on the Metchosin Bioblitz.  ‘Fraid I didn’t manage to photograph an upperside, but here’s an underside.  I released this one in the Finnerty Gardens (UVic).

 

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Aglais milberti (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum

 

 

   Scott Gilmore writes: Last night I found a "giant" click beetle  that is almost 2 cm long Athous scissus wrapped up in a spider web near a black light.

 

I also found a new to me beetle near a CFL light, Crytarcha ampla.

 

Athous scissus (Col.: Elateridae)  Scott Gilmore

 

 

Crytarcha ampla (Col.: Nitidulidae)  Scott Gilmore

June 29

2015 June 29

 

   Sorry no posting yesterday – not enough business!

 

   Jeff Gaskin writes: On Sunday morning, June 28, while still in the sunshine there was a Red Admiral in the southwest corner of Swan Lake . It was near a patch of nettles which was near the bridge that crosses Swan Creek not far from the highway.  [Jeremy Tatum comments:  Yes, there have been caterpillars in that nettle patch!]

 

  Rob Gowan reports an interesting moth from the summit of Mount Washington from the June 20 trip.  It is Anarta nigrolunata, which is a moth that occurs in the alpine meadows of high mountains.  We are struggling with technical computer difficulties, but we’ll try and show Rob’s fine photograph of it if we can just tame these computers.

 

  Scott Gilmore writes from Upper Lantzville:  On Sunday (June 28) we found some interesting longhorn beetles and a couple of flies.  I can name the beetles as least to genus, and John H Ascher has identified the flies (snipe flies – Rhagionidae) to genus.

 

Phymatodes sp. (Col.: Cerambycidae) Scott Gilmore

 

Xestoleptura crassicornis (Col.: Cerambycidae) Scott Gilmore

 


Necydalis sp. (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Scott Gilmore

 

   Scott describes this as a wasp mimic.  Jeremy Tatum comments: Yes I have seen this one or a congener myself, and it is a quite astonishing ichneumonid (a sort of wasp in the broad sense) mimic.  The one thing that gives it away is that it is fairly lethargic – whereas an icheumonid is constantly on the move and its antennae are constantly in motion. Other than that, the resemblance of this beetle to an icheumonid is truly astonishing.

 

Snipe fly Chrysopilus sp. (Dip.: Rhagionidae) Scott Gilmore

 

Snipe fly  Rhagio sp. (Dip.:  Rhagionidae)  Scott Gilmore

 

 

 

   Two micro moths, photographed recently by Bill Katz and Jeremy Tatum, have recently been indentified for us by Eric LaGasa:

 

Pandemis cerasana (Lep.: Tortricidae)   Bill Katz

 

Herpetogramma pertextalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jeremy Tatum

June 27

2015 June 27

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I tried my little bit of the monthly Butterfly Count today along the Munn Road power lines, but it was too hot for me and even for the butterflies and all I saw was a couple of Essex Skippers.  However, I did find a Western Brown Elfin caterpillar, unusually on Ocean Spray.  I have very occasionally found it on Ocean Spray before, although its usual foodplant is Salal.  The head, by the way, is towards the left in the photograph.

 

Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Jeremy Tatum

 

  Some may doubt that it can be too hot for butterflies, but Annie Pang makes the same observation (particularly for dark butterflies), only she expresses it better than I can:

 

A Lorquin’s Song on a hot day

Beneath the shadows I retreat
to find respite from scorching heat
before the day is far from done,
I hide myself from too much sun.
My wings are dark, my wings are frail,
I must protect each tiny scale
for life is short and life is rough,
and for a butterfly, it’s tough.
We fight for mates so we can breed
so we’ll live on in next year’s seed,
But in this heat today I hide
and in the shadows I’ll abide
until I’m cool enough to sun
before the day is all but done.
© Annie Pang

 

 

Hiding from the sun

Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)

Annie Pang

 Cool enough to sun

Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)

Annie Pang

 

June 26

2015 June 26

 

   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Last weekend, June 20 , 21, Nairn Hollott, who lives in the 4300 block of Prospect Lake Road., had at her place 2 male Purplish Coppers and one rather fresh Satyr Comma.  Today, I hiked the Galloping Goose trail from Sooke Road at Glen Lake Road to the Colwood Corners and had the following results: 42 Cabbage Whites, 23 Western Tiger Swallowtails, 8 Lorquin’s Admirals, 7 Pale Swallowtails, and 1 Painted Lady. The Painted Lady was actually in Colwood Creek Park which is right off the Goose trail near Jacklin Road.

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes that there were two Common Emerald moths outside his back door this morning – alas, in too awkward a place to photograph.

 

  Annie Pang sends a photograph of a Lorquin’s Admiral

 

Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Annie Pang