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 30

2018 November 30

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  No butterflies these days, so I am reduced to photographing  the firebrats that share my apartment building with me in Saanich.  Like many other organisms, the firebrats and silverfish have been subject to various changes in taxonomic classification.  They used to be in the Order Thysanura (Three-pronged Bristletails – “Thysanura” is Greek for “bristletail”) of the Class Insecta.   However, several Orders within the former Class Insecta have been moved to a new Class, Entognatha.  Further, the entognathan Order Thysanura has been replaced by two separate Orders – Zygentoma and Archaeognatha.  The present classification of firebrats and silverfish is, I believe:

Phylum Arthropoda

  Subphylum Hexapoda

    Class Entognatha

        Order Zygentoma

           Family Lepismatidae

 

   The best-known insects entognaths in the large Family Lepismatidae are the Firebrat Thermobia domestica and the Silverfish Lepisma saccharina – although I have never yet seen the Silverfish in Victoria.  The Firebrat is a common commensal in my apartment building.  The animal shown here is neither the Firebrat nor the Silverfish, but is Ctenolepisma longicaudata, rather less common in my building than Thermobia domestica.  As for an English name, Grey Firebrat or Grey Silverfish are used – though I think the former would be more accurate.  The true Silverfish likes cold, damp places.  The firebrats like it warm and dry.

 



Ctenolepisma longicaudata (Zygentoma:  Lepismatidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

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.

 

 

November 28

2018 November 28

 

   Kirsten Mills sends a photograph of a Winter Moth  from her apartment near the Hillside Mall.

Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Kirsten Mills

November 21

2018 November 21

 

   Victoria West sends a photograph of Emmelina monodactyla.  This is one of those pterophorid moths that we, as well as enthusiasts on the Sussex butterfly website, have independently noticed closely resembles the pre-WWI German monoplane the Rumpler Taube.   See

 https://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/sightings/   for 19 and 20 November.  The larval foodplant of this species is the flowers of Calystegia.

 




Emmelina monodactyla (Lep.: Pterophoridae)  Victoria West

November 20

2018 November 20

 

   Jochen Möhr writes:  A couple of dragonflies joined me on November 18 in my boat while I was fishing on Poirier Lake in Sooke.   Thanks to Dr Rob Cannings for identifying them as the late-flying  Yellow-legged Meadowhawk.

 

Yellow-legged Meadowhawk Sympetrum vicinum (Odo.: Libellulidae) 

 Jochen Möhr