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 4

2016 July 4

 

   Butterflies may be a bit scarce in and near Victoria just now, but it is quite another story on Mount Cokely.   On June 29 Ron Flower photographed several splendid butterflies, most of which we don’t see here in Victoria.  See also Aziza’s June 26 list (June 27 posting).

 

Western Sulphur Colias occidentalis (Lep.: Pieridae)  Ron Flower

Rocky Mountain Parnassian Parnassius smintheus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Ron Flower

Western Meadow Fritillary Boloria epithore (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Ron Flower

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Ron Flower

Anna’s Blue Lycaeides anna (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Ron Flower

   Jeremy Gatten writes:  I bought extension tubes to get a little closer for macro shots and I am quite happy with the results!

 

First, I found an interesting wasp, Philanthus crabroniformis, that I learned is a beewolf.  The females lay eggs on a bee host and when the carnivorous larvae emerge, they consume it.  I found it at Tod Creek Flats behind the Red Barn Market on West Saanich Road.

 

Next, I had a different bee fly at the old gravel pit off Veteran’s Memorial Parkway near Colwood.  Almost all bee flies I encounter locally are Bombylius major, but this one lacks the pattern on the wings and is much more golden.  It could be Systoechus oreas.  At the same location I had a very exciting find: a large dark spot on a rock turned out to be a Catocala briseis moth!

 

Philanthus crabroniformis (Hym.: Crabronidae)  Jeremy Gatten

Bee fly Probably Systoechus oreas (Dip.: Bibionidae)  Jeremy Gatten

 

Catocala briseis (Lep.: Erebidae – Catocalinae)  Jeremy Gatten

 

July 3

2106 July 3

 

   Annie Pang sends a photograph of a Seven-spotted Ladybird seen on July 2.

 

 

Seven-spotted Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Annie Pang

   She also sends photographs of two Essex Skippers – one of the normal form, and the other of the uncommon pale form “pallida” from Cuthbert Holmes Park.

 

 Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Annie Pang

 

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola f. “pallida” (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Annie Pang

 

Aziza Cooper writes:  Today, Sunday, July 3, three butterfly watchers went to the hydro lines north of Spectacle Lake. The butterflies were very scarce. We found two Lorquin’s Admirals and one Lorquin’s Admiral caterpillar about to pupate. The only other butterfly we saw was one skipper flyby, not identifiable.

 

The day was quite warm but quite cloudy, and it seems the butterfly season is already coming to a close. We observed 32 species of birds and ate many delicious wild berries. The walk was very pleasant!

 

Aziza sends a photograph of the Lorquin’s Admiral pre-pupal caterpillar, and also of a fly that landed on Jeff Gaskin’s back-pack.  Thanks to Claudia Copley who  has tracked it down as a species of Anthrax.

 

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

Aziza Cooper

Anthrax sp. (Dip.: Bombyliidae)  Aziza Cooper

 

 

 

 

July 2

2016 July 2

 

    Devon Parker writes that he and his Dad went on a hike on June 26 from Spectacle Lake to Oliphant Lake.  They found

 

2 Dun Skippers
1 Clodius Parnassian
4 Lorquin’s Admiral
1 Hydaspe Fritillary
1 flyby fritillary

 

  Jeremy Tatum and Bill Savale visited Muir Creek today, July 2, and saw 2 adult and one caterpillar Red Admirals, as well as the expected Western and Pale Tiger Swallowtails, Lorquin’s Admiral and Essex Skipper.

 

  Rosemary Jorna writes:  We were at Peden Lake in the Sooke Hills today July 2 2016. Two Lorquin’s Admirals were flying.  Dragonflies and damselflies were out in great numbers and varieties  but I only got this shot of a mature male Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis . There were a dozen or more of these males darting about.

Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis (Odo.:  Libellulidae)  Rosemary Jorna

July 1

2016 July 1

 

   Monthly Butterfly Walk.  All are welcome.  We meet this Sunday, July 3, at 10:00 a.m.  (note the change in time), at the top of Mount Tolmie.  We usually discuss where we will go when we meet.  It is very weather-dependent, of course, and if the weather is bad it may have to be cancelled.  But if the weather is good, one possibility is Cowichan Station, to see if we can see the Margined White.

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  A Satyr Comma ecloded (emerged) this morning from the chrysalis shown on June 21.  You can see the empty chrysalis case to the left of the butterfly.  This is a female.  The underside of the male has a much more “scribbly” pattern, and a thicker, more “ear-shaped” white mark.  I released the butterfly this morning on bramble blossom on Lochside Drive north of Blenkinsop Lake.  It is the first adult Satyr Comma that I have seen this year.

 

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

The interesting photograph below was taken by Andrew Simon.  The aphids are being “farmed” by the ants, who enjoy the sweet “honey dew” that the aphids exude. The aphids are said to obtain some advantage from the ants, which protect them from predators.  Well, there is a predator at the bottom of the photograph.  The pale slug-like creature there is the maggot of a hoverfly (Syrphidae), and these syrphid larvae are among the most voracious predators of aphids. Do you think the ant that is partially straddling the maggot is doing its job?

 

We have four organisms to identify in the photograph.  I think the botanists may agree that the thistle is the Canada Thistle Cirsium canadensis, also known as Cirsium arvense.  In spite of its English and scientific names, I believe it is a European invader, and not a native species.  I don’t know if we can find anyone to identify the ants or the aphids for us.  The fly larva would seem to be even more of a challenge, but Dr Jeff Skevington exceeded my expectations and has gone down to Subfamily level – it’s in the Subfamily Syrphinae.

 

 Ants, aphids, and a syrphine maggot

 

Ren Ferguson writes, from Salt Spring Island:  Attached is a photo of what I think would be a species of fly? Anyway, I have never seen this critter before and was hoping for some help in identifying it.  It landed on the railing of our deck here on Salt Spring Island on June 29. That is a large body percentage given over to compound eyes!

 

Jeremy Tatum responds:  I am absolutely and genuinely terrified of tabanid flies, and I experienced that feeling of terror as soon as I saw the photograph, from which I deduce that it is a tabanid fly.  Thanks to Claudia Copley for idenifying it as Tabanus punctifer.

 

 

Western Horse Fly Tabanus punctifer   (Dip.: Tabanidae)  Ren Ferguson

 

June 30

2016 June 30

 

   Annie Pang sends a photograph of another bee from Gorge Park – kindly identified by Linc Best as Dianthidium sp.

 

Dianthidium sp. (Hym.:  Megachilidae)  Annie Pang

   Annie also sends photographs of a fly from Gorge Park.  She writes:  This is easily the largest syrphid I have ever seen!  To give perspective, it is on a huge Shasta Daisy.  I have never seen a syrphid this large.  Dr Jeff Skevington writes:  Cool! It is Myathropa florea, a species recently introduced to California from Europe. It is known from British Columbia but it only arrived recently.

 

Myathropa florea (Dip.: Syrphidae)   Annie Pang

Myathropa florea (Dip.: Syrphidae)   Annie Pang

   Annie sends another bee photograph from Gorge Park, June 30. Identified by Linc Best as Mellissodes microsticta.

 

 

  Melissodes microsticta (Hym.: Apidae)   Annie Pang

 

Jeff Gaskin writes:  On Tuesday June 28, there was a single Red Admiral in Outerbridge Park along Royal Oak Avenue near Lochside School.  Down Lochside Drive off Royal Oak Avenue  I as well as the Tuesday Group that I was with saw a Pale Tiger Swallowtail.

 

Jeremy Tatum writes:  I saw a Red Admiral at UVic yesterday (June 29), and, today, a Red Admiral ecloded (emerged) from the chrysalis shown on June 19.  I didn’t manage to photograph it, but I released it at the top of Mount Tolmie, so, if you see an absolutely pristine fresh one there this evening, that will probably be it!