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 30

2015 September 30

 

   Annie Pang writes:  Today in Victoria, it was up to 20 ºC and I was so very pleased to be able to get an Autographa californica moth, common name; Alfalfa Looper , that just flew up in front of me and then landed briefly on some marigolds in Gorge Park Community Gardens. Pictures taken Sept 29, 2015.  [Jeremy Tatum comments:  This is the seventh photo of this species sent to Invert Alert in the last four weeks. (See Aug 28, Sep 10,13, 24, 26 and 29 in addition to today) One of them was reared from a caterpillar, but I wonder if we are having a sudden invasion of this migratory species.  Additional observations will be of interest.]

Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Annie Pang

   David Stirling writes:  On Sunday, September 27, 2015 . fifty or more dragonflies were hawking over the field at East Sooke Park from  2:00 to 3:00 pm. They appeared golden in the low fall sunlight but changed to vivid green if viewed from a different angle. A fine sight. A Merlin was sallying forth to capture individual insects.

  Jeremy Tatum writes:  On September 13 we showed a photograph of an egg of a Cabbage White found on Cakile at Weir’s Beach. The caterpillar is now almost full grown, thriving on a diet of Cakile, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  (It seems to be favouring the latter at present.)  Photograph below, taken today.

Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae) Jeremy Tatum

September 29

2015 September 29

 

   Val George’s plusiine caterpillar from his Kale plants (August 28 and September 10), which we initially speculated might be Trichoplusia ni, turned out to be Autographa californica.  The photograph below shows an adult from one of these caterpillars. It emerged today, and was released in the Blenkinsop valley.

Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum

   Aziza Cooper writes:  On Saturday September 26 at Aylard Farm I photographed a Green Darner eating a Cabbage White. Darren Copley mentioned that this was a migratory dragonfly, and it was being studied to find its wintering area.   Today, Monday, September 28, I saw a Red Admiral at the hawk lookout near Beechey Head.  During the butterfly count period I saw ten Cabbage Whites, all but one from my car as I was driving in Victoria, and the last near my home. There were no butterflies at my regular butterfly count area, the Goldstream campground railroad tracks – not one Pine White.

Green Darner Anax junius (Odo.: Aeshnidae)

with Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)

Aziza Cooper

   Annie Pang photographed the bee below in the Gorge on September 14.  She writes: I’ve never seen anything like it – the thorax a metallic green and yet the abdomen is yellow and black striped.  Sort of looks like a “half’n’half” wasp.  Really would like as much info on this one as anyone can come up with please!

  Jeremy Tatum responds:  We do really need someone who can help with identification of Hymenoptera. I had originally erroneously labelled this as a chrysidid wasp, and I am grateful to Scott Gilmore for pointing out that it is actually a halictid bee of the genus Agapostemon

 Sweat bee Agapostemon sp. (Hym.: Halictidae)  Annie Pang

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  The big bug below, which often attracts attention at this time of year, turned up at my Saanich apartment today.

Western Conifer Seed Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis (Hem.: Coreidae)  Jeremy Tatum

September 28

2015 September 28

Jeff Gaskin writes: Today around noon, September 27, there was a Mourning Cloak and 2 Cabbage Whites along Vincent Avenue near Tillicum Road  This again is in the Gorge neighbourhood.

Devon Parker writes:  I found four native butterfly species today, September 27, near/at Nitnat. 1 Mourning Cloak at the gate of the Nitnat Fish Hatchery. 1 Red Admiral at the north end of Nitnat Lake by the fish pens. 1 Mourning Cloak next to the bridge on the way to the fish hatchery. 1 Grey Hairstreak at the intersection of the Carmanah turn off and Nitnat Main.

Val George writes: On September 26, I was with a BC Field Ornithologist group at the hawk watch in East Sooke when a (rather latish) Pine White butterfly flew through the tree canopy.

Jeremy Tatum writes.  I’ve had to be content with Cabbage Whites in the last few days.

There are still quite a few around – especially in the cabbage and kale patches near McIntyre Pond, Central Saanich.

Rosemary Jorna sends photographs of a fly and a ladybird beetle from Kemp Lake, September 28.

 

Hover fly (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Rosemary Jorna

 

Seven-spotted Ladybird Coccinella septempuncata (Col.:  Coccinellidae)  Rosemary Jorna

September 26

2015 September 26

In case you are wondering if your computer missed a beat, no it didn’t – there wasn’t a September 25 posting.

On September 24 I reported a sighting of Autographa californica nectaring “in classical plusiine style”.  In case any viewer is wondering what than means, Devon Parker photographed his own Autographa californica nectaring “in classical plusiine style” on his lemon tree yesterday.  See that haustellum probing for nectar!  [An elephant has a proboscis; a moth has a haustellum.  (But in ordinary conversation, proboscis is just fine!)]

Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Devon Parker

  Rosemary Jorna writes:  Literally thousands of these impossibly small bugs flew out of the Salal this morning when we were clearing a trail in Otter Point this morning.  They only seemed to be on the Salal.   [Jeremy Tatum writes:  This is the first image we’ve had of these bugs on this site.  There are hundreds of species, so I shan’t attempt an exact identification.]

Whitefly (Hem.: Aleyrodidae)  Rosemary Jorna

September 24

2015 September 24

Today we have reports of insects large and small. Barbara Dashwood reports a large one – the caterpillar of a Polyphemus Moth at Gorge Road on September 22.  And Scott Gilmore reports a small one.  Scott writes:  Yesterday at work in the men’s washroom I saw a larger Moth Fly (family: Psychodidae) than I normally find in my bathroom at home. Turns out it is a Filter Fly, Clogmia albipunctata.  Just goes to show it is always worth keeping your eyes out for insects no matter where you are! Bathrooms are the best place to find this rather interesting group.  [Jeremy Tatum comments:  We rarely have pictures of psychodids on this site, but, on looking back, I see that we did have an unidentified psychodid contributed by Ken Vaughan on September 19, 2012.]

Filter Fly Clogmia albipunctata (Dip.: Psychodidae)

Scott Gilmore

      Ann Nightingale sends a photograph of a Painted Lady from McIntyre reservoir, Central Saanich, September 15.

 Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ann  Nightingale

  Butterflies are becoming a little scarce now, although Jeremy Tatum counted 21 Cabbage Whites in the Martindale Valley yesterday.  Please keep reporting these and other species, so we know the last dates of sightings.  Jeremy writes that today he watched an adult Autographa californica nectaring at Red Clover in classical plusiine style in the Martindale Valley.