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.

September 12

2020 September 12

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:   I was just about to post my photograph below of a Nepytia phantasmaria, which was on the glass door of the Swan Lake Nature House this afternoon, when I received this message from Robb Bennett: “I’m on Hornby Island. There are a great many of these flying around.  Can you enlighten?”

 

  I didn’t even look at Robb’s photograph before replying that they were Nepytia phastasmaria.  Luck was with me, for, when I looked at his photograph I saw that I was right!  Robb continues: “They were ‘all over the place’ on Hornby Island this week. I arrived there on Wednesday afternoon and there were quite a few flying around then, and lots came to lights that evening. After that, they didn’t seem to come to lights after dark any more but still lots ‘all over the place’ during the day.”

 

  This is quite a phenomenal year for the species.  Until I saw one in a UVic car park a few days ago, I’d never seen one, writes Jeremy.

 


Nepytia phantasmaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

 


Nepytia phantasmaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Robb Bennett

 

   Jeremy continues:   Here’s the caterpillar of a Peppered Moth Biston betularia first shown when young on August 30, now full grown:

 


Biston betularia (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

     Jeremy Tatum writes:  Aziza Cooper sends a photograph of an “insect” from Uplands Park.  Users of this site have, I think, become terrified of using the word “bug” when writing to this site.  Fear not, Aziza, you could safely have used the word with this insect, for it is indeed a bug.  It is a nymph of a bug, almost certainly of the Family Pentatomidae, but beyond that, I cannot go.  If any viewer can help, please let us know.

 

Nymph of bug (Hem.: Pentatomidae)  Aziza Cooper

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

2 Agriphila sp.

1 Eupithecia graefii

1 Drepanulatrix sp.

1 Fishia illocata

1 Lithomoia germana

3 Pleromelloida cinerea

2 Tetracis probably pallulata

1 Zenophleps lignicolorata

 

   The first of Jochen’s photographs below is of an amazing moth.  Believe it or not (and I had some difficulty believing it when Libby told me last year) it is a noctuid, not at all related to the Unicorn Prominent and its relatives in the Family Notodontidae.  Is this Müllerian or Batesian mimicry? Or neither?  Just convergent evolution and not mimicry at all?  Who knows?

 


Lithomoia germana (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Zenophleps lignicolorata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr

 


Eupithecia graefii (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr

 

 

September 11 evening

2020 September 11 evening

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths in Metchosin this morning:

 

4 Agriphila (perhaps straminella)

1 Drepanulatrix  (perhaps monicaria)

1 Eulithis xylina

1 Eupithecia tripunctaria

1 Feltia jaculifera

1 Fishia illocata

4 Neoalcis californiaria 

1 Plemyria georgii

1 Pleromelloida cinerea

1 Tetracis jubararia/pallulata

1 Xanthorhoe defensaria 

 


Eupithecia tripunctaria  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Drepanulatrix (perhaps monicaria) (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Fishea illocata (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Pleromelloida cinerea (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Tetracis pallulata/jubararia (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

September 11 morning

2020 September 11 morning

 

   Gordon Hart photographed a caddisfly in the Highlands area on September 9, identified by Libby Avis as Lenarchus (probably rho).

 

Caddisfly Lenarchus (probably rho) (Tri.: Limnephilidae)  Gordon Hart

 

  Val George writes:  Phantom Hemlock Loopers Nepytia phantasmaria seem to be everywhere this year.  I was in Campbell River yesterday morning, September 10, to see the Snowy Plover on the beach just south of the town and was quite surprised to see at least half a dozen of these moths flying around over the seaweed-covered rocks.  The attached photo is of one that was settled on a patch of sand.


Nepytia phantasmaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Val George

September 10 evening

2020 September 10 evening

 

   Gordon Hart writes from Highlands:  I counted about 70 Nepytia phantasmaria last night, and this morning they were also scattered through the grass. I was out at Pedder Bay this morning, doing a bird walk, and I noticed many moths of this species fluttering here and there.   Today, Thursday, September 10, we saw a fresh Painted Lady Vanessa cardui on the Buddleia in the Highlands. The Buddleia has started to flower again, so it is attracting insects day and night. Last night, two Neoalcis californiaria were on it.

 

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart

September 10 morning

2020 September 10 morning

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  When I arrived at UVic today I saw a Nepytia phantasmaria in the car park – a “lifer ” for me!  Since Jochen Möhr in Metchosin and Gordon Hart in Highlands had both reported them this year, I was about to ask (in this posting) whether this was a good year for the species.  And then I received this amazing message from Gordon:

 

I checked the porch lights last night (evening of September 8), and was amazed to see the walls near the lights covered with Nepytia phantasmaria. I counted close to 60 between two lights. There were about five Neoalcis californiaria, several Xanthorhoe sp. and a few small crambid snout moths. Yesterday evening, September 9, there seem to be similar numbers plus an Autographa californica, and a large brown lacewing. I have attached some photos from September 8.

 

And Libby Avis writes from Port Alberni:

 

We’ve had exactly the same experience as Gordon. Counted about 100 two nights ago and last night we estimated around 150-200 at the light, plus others all through the grass where Rick had set up a small low light trap. We get them every year here and numbers vary, but nothing like what we’ve been seeing this year. Duncan’s Conifer Defoliators of BC says that localised short-lived outbreaks have been recorded in the past. Powell and Opler also mention outbreaks in BC, so I guess that’s what we’re seeing this year. Quite a sight last night!

 

Reading from the left:

Dark-winged fungus gnat (Dip.: Sciaridae)

Nepytia phantasmaria (Lep.: Geometridae)

Male non-biting midge (Dip.: Chironomidae)

Gordon Hart


Zenophleps lignitaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Gordon Hart

Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Gordon Hart

      Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

7 Agriphila sp.

1 Euxoa difformis

1 Lacinipolia pensilis

14 (!) Neoalcis californiaria 

 


Lacinipolia pensilis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Euxoa sp. (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Agriphila (possibly straminella) (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr


Agriphila (possibly straminella) (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr


Agriphila (possibly straminella) (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr


Agriphila (possibly straminella) (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr

 

Aziza Cooper writes:  On September 8, I found a Purplish Copper near the footpath that parallels the beach. The butterfly was in the grass west of the trail and south of the ditch that passes the toilets.  Also there were two Ringlets.

 

Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper