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.

December 18

2019 December 18

 

   Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:  I continue to have some 6 +/- 3 Operophtera on my wall every morning.  Most are drab looking ones, probably O. brumata.   This morning there was a different one, perhaps an occidentalis?   Jeremy Tatum replies:  Yes, I believe this is indeed Operophtera occidentalis.

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

  Since Operophtera occidentalis is more likely to be seen in rural rather than urban areas, Gordon Hart has been keeping his eye and camera lens open for the species in the Highlands, although so far they seem to be mostly O. brumata.


Operophtera brumata I(Lep.: Geometrdae)  Gordon Hart

 

December 17

2019 December  17

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes from his Saanich apartment:  There’s not much to photograph here in these dull days other than a few firebrats.  The first one below is the “usual” one, Thermobia domestica.  I think its epiproct (the middle of the three caudal appendages) must be damaged  – it is usally much longer than that. The second one is the less common Ctenolepisma longicaudata.  They are in the non-insect hexapod Order Thysanura, known as three-bronged bristletails.  This Order includes the Silverfish Lepisma saccharina, which I have never seen in Victoria.  Unlike the firebrats, which like warm areas, the genuine Silverfish prefers cool places.  Perhaps some viewer will be able to find and photograph one for us.

 

   Apart from the obvious differences in colour and pattern of the two species below, they are different shapes: T. domestica has quite a short abdomen compared with its thorax;  the abdomen of C. longicaudata (“long-tailed”) is indeed long.

 


Thermobia domestica (Thysanura: Lepismatidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 


Ctenolepisma longicaudata (Thysanura: Lepismatidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

December 8

2019 December 8

 

   Jochen Möhr sends more Operophtera (winter moth) photographs from Metchosin.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I believe (note the uncertainty!) the first is O. occidentalis, and the rest are O. brumata.

 

 

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

   Jeremy continues:  Today I went out to Goldstream Park, and there were hundreds of Operophtera at the nature house.  I believe both brumata and occidentalis were there, though I believe most were occidentalis.  Many, of course, I couldn’t  be sure of either way, and unfortunately I didn’t spot any of the rarer danbyi.  I took a few photographs of moths that are surely occidentalis.


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 

   I also took two photographs of a female.   I can’t clearly see the wing stubs from the photographs, although I think if it had been brumata, the wing stubs would have been easily visible – large enough to cover the thorax, so I think this female is probably occidentalis.

 


Operophtera (probably occidentalis) (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 


Operophtera (probably occidentalis) (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

 

 

December 7

2019 December 7

 

    Mr E sends photographs of a small slug that he found on Prospect Lake Road on December 6.  Can any viewer identify the species?

 

Unidentified slug   Mr E

 

Unidentified slug   Mr E

 

 

Unidentified slug   Mr E

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  As part of our continuing efforts to sort out the winter moths (Operophtera sp.), Jochen Möhr has photographed a series of them in Metchosin.   Some are fairly straightforward; most of them are tough!   I *think*  (but it is only a think) that the first one below may be O. occidentalis, and the rest are probably O. brumata.  In the first one below, note the dark streak that goes from the centre of the forewing down to the middle of the outer margin.  I have labelled the photographs below according to my best efforts – but I can’t guarantee 100 percent that they are all absolutely correct.

 


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

(A possible trace of occidentalis?)

 

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

(A possible trace of occidentalis?)

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

December 6

2019 December 6

 

     Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:  During my – unsuccessful – search for female Operophtera, I found a dead fly, which looked strange to me.  After taking pictures, I have the suspicion that it is a fairly ordinary fly and that the grey rings might be some fungal growth.

 

  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Jochen is right on both counts – the fly is “ordinary” and the growth is a fungus.  I cannot be totally certain of the fly, but I believe it is most likely the Common House Fly Musca domestica.   This fly isn’t actually all that “ordinary” – many of the flies that come into my apartment are usually Fannia, or Calliphora, or Pollenia – I don’t often see genuine Musca.  Also some tachinids look quite like this fly, and with quite similar wing venation.  However, Musca domestica at present looks like the best fit. We are grateful to Bill Savale for confirming that the growth is indeed a fungus, which probably infected the fly while it was still alive, and subsequently killed it.  Bill tells us that the fungus is a phycomycete, Entomophthora muscae.

 


Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae) infected with Entomophthora muscae    Jochen Möhr

 


Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae) infected with Entomophthora muscae    Jochen Möhr

 


Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae) infected with Entomophthora muscae    Jochen Möhr

 


Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae) infected with Entomophthora muscae    Jochen Möhr

 

   In spite of its being December, there are more invertebrate photographs in the queue – they’ll have to wait until tomorrow!