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.

March 14

2015 March 14

 

   Gerry and Wendy Ansell write that there was a Mourning Cloak on Thursday March  12 by the grassy area by the Swan Lake Nature House.

 

   Barbara McGenere writes:  On March 12, Mike and I saw 3 fresh male Sara Orangetips on the lower south slope of Mount Douglas.  Two were seen together briefly, but mostly they were flying low, back and forth over the grassy Garry Oak slope.   Also at Mount Douglas was 1 Satyr Comma in the forest, basking in the sun, low on a tree trunk.  Also on March 12, there was 1 Satyr Comma along Lohbrunner Road, and 2 in Outerbridge Park.  Also on March 12, was a Cabbage White in my neighbours’ garden which has many plants in flower right now.

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Barbara’s sighting of a Sara Orangetip reminded me to check my pupa of one, which I have had since last year.  Here’s a photo of it.  The Orangetip pupae are pretty clever.  When they are first formed in the spring they are green. Late in the summer and early fall, they change to a straw colour – same as that of the surrounding vegetation.  Then in the winter they turn very dark – almost black – again matching the surrounding vegetation.  Anyone would think they didn’t want to be seen.

 

Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara Lep.: Pieridae)
Jeremy Tatum

 

   Bill Katz writes on March 13):   There was a green moth high up on the wall of the Goldstream Nature house that I’d never seen before.  I’ve identified it as Feralia deceptiva.  I’m attaching a shot of it taken at a distance.

 

   Bill also sends a photo of Orthosia praeses and a snout, which he suggests is Hypena californica.   Jeremy Tatum agrees that this is the most likely, but I don’t think we can rule out possibly H. decorata or H. modestoides.  We need to study these snouts a bit more to see which species we get here.

 

   Bill also writes: I saw several butterflies and a moth at Swan Lake early in the afternoon, including a small white and black moth that I suspect was Mesoleuca gratulata.  I also saw my first Mourning Cloak.

 

Feralia deceptiva (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz

 

Orthosia praeses (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz

 

Hypena sp. (Lep.:  Erebidae – Hypeninae) Bill Katz

 

 

 

March 13

2015 March 13

 

   Jeremy Tatum saw a Cabbage White at the Hillside shopping centre yesterday.

 

   James Miskelly’s fascinating talk on Tuesday about “grigs”  (i.e. Orthoptera!) had an immediate result – for Ann Nightingale responded with alacrity with a photo of a grig – a camel cricket – from a Pacific Dogwood tree in her yard (Central Saanich) after dark on March 11. 

Camel cricket Diestrammena sp. (Orth.: Rhaphidophoridae) Ann Nightingale

 

March 10

2015 March 10

 

   Colin Franks sends a photo of a comma from Dickson Avenue, North Saanich.   I’ll label it as a Satyr Comma – but if anyone thinks it might be another one, please let us know!   Although it is a well-photographed species, please keep sending good photos of them – we need more practice and experience in identifying them and distinguishing them from the other commas.

 

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Colin Franks

March 08

2015 March 8

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a batch of eggs, found in North Saanich yesterday, of the Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua, also known as the Rusty Tussock Moth.  Also an ichneumon wasp from my Saanich apartment today, identified by Scott Gilmore as a species of Ophion.

 

Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae) Jeremy Tatum

Ichneumon wasp Ophion sp.  (Hym.: Ichneumonidae) Jeremy Tatum

 

 

  Jeff Gaskin writes:  Saturday March 7, there was a Mourning Cloak on Forshaw Road at Rhoda Lane on the Esquimalt side of the Gorge. This was near Esquimalt Gorge Park.

 

  Gordon Hart writes:  On Saturday March 7 in our yard, I saw the orange and black moth

Archiearis infans again. Besides that one, I saw two Epirrhoe plebeculata and I got a picture of an even smaller geometrid with brown and black patterning.  We also saw at least two Satyr Commas and I think the Green Comma as well. I also saw my first Cabbage White of the year.

 

  Jeremy Tatum responds:  All three moths that Gordon mentions are early day-flying geometrids, although Archiearis is far from typical, the caterpillar having three pairs of mid-abdominal prolegs. It feeds on alder, and needs bark on which to pupate.  Gordon’s smaller – and very pretty – geometrid is Enchoria lacteata.  I have never found the caterpillar, but it is reputed to feed upon Miner’s Lettuce. 

 

Archiearis infans (Lep.: Geometridae) Gordon Hart

 

Enchoria lacteata (Lep.: Geometridae) Gordon Hart

 

 

  Jeremy adds:  I, too, saw my first Cabbage White today, at Lamont Road in Central Saanich, as, too, did Bill Katz, who photographed this one on Summit Hill.

 

 

Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)   Bill Katz.