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.

April 16

2015 April 16

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a young caterpillar, a full-grown caterpillar, and an adult

Euceratia securella.  The caterpillar was found and reared on Snowberry on Mount Tolmie, and the adult was released on Mount Tolmie today.

 

Euceratia securella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 Euceratia securella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

 

Euceratia securella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum

   Jeremy reports from Munn Road today (April 16), an early Tiger Swallowtail (not sure whether Western or Pale), a Green Comma, a Propertius Duskywing, a Western Brown Elfin and several Sara Orangetips and Western Spring Azures.

 

   Nathan Fisk writes:  Anise Swallowtail spotted at Thetis Lake halfway up Seymour Hill, and another near the Esquimalt Lagoon today.

 

 

 

April15

2015 April 15

 

   Annie Pang sends a photo of a bee fly (probably Bombylius major) from Gorge Park on April 9.  The larvae of these flies are parasitoidal on bees, such as Andrena sp.  The long, straight, proboscis is just that – it is used for imbibing nectar, not for stinging, and it is not as vicious as it looks.

 

Bee fly Bombylius major (Dip.:  Bombyliidae)  Annie Pang

 

   Nathan Fisk reports a good view of a Painted Lady nectaring on Sea Blush at Fort Rodd Hill on April 14, as well as several Sara Orangetips.

 

    Interestingly, Jeff Gaskin also reports a lady, believed to be a Painted Lady, from Christmas Hill, on April 15, as well as two Sara Orangetips, a Western Spring Azure, a Propertius Duskywing, and several Cabbage Whites.

 

   Scott Gilmore writes from Upper Lantzville: 

 I found a number of fly puparia in a compost leaf pile on April 6th. I had no idea what they might be so I hung onto them.   On the 11th flies started to emerge.

  After some correspondence, Jeremy and Scott agree that the flies are a species of Phaonia.  They agree very well with P. subventa, and also with European P. rufiventris (also known as P. populi).  It seems safest to label them as probably P. subventa.

 

 

Phaonia (probably subventa) (Dip.: Muscidae)  Scott Gilmore


Phaonia (probably subventa) (Dip.: Muscidae) Scott Gilmore

 

   Scott continues:  I also came across a Cixiid Planthopper (Family Cixiidae) something I have only seen once before.

 

 

Planthopper (Hem.: Cixiidae)  Scott Gilmore

 

 

  Yesterday (April 14)at a local beach I found Endeodes collaris, a Soft-winged Flower Beetle from the family Melyridae:

Soft-winged Flower Beetle Endeodes collaris (Col.:  Melyridae)

Scott Gilmore

 

 

April 11

2015 April 11

 

   Bill Katz sends photos of two Gluphisia severa  from Haro Woods,  April 10.

 

Gluphisia severa (Lep.: Notodontidae)  Bill Katz


Gluphisia severa (Lep.: Notodontidae)  Bill Katz

 

April 10

2015 April 10

 

   Bill Savale saw a Mourning Cloak yesterday, at the corner of Shelbourne Street and Cedar Hill Cross Road.

 

   Ann Nightingale was at Muir Creek west of Sooke on Thursday afternoon (April 9) and came across a moderately cooperative Grey Hairstreak.

 

Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Ann Nightingale

 

Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Ann Nightingale

 

 

   Mike McGrenere writes:  Daniel Dönnecke and I hiked up Mount Douglas today looking for birds and butterflies. The butterflies were the highlight, though. We saw two California Tortoiseshells at the top (one by the teacup lookout and the other by the tower), 15 Sara Orangetips, 3 Spring Azures and 3 Propertius Duskywings. We also saw a Cabbage White along the Lochside trail.

 

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)

Mike McGrenere

 

   Annie Pang sends a series of photographs of the Western White Ribbon Carpet Moth Mesoleuca gratulata. It was busy laying eggs of the buds of the Himalayan Blackberry Rubus discolor. The moth inspired Annie to write an ode in its honour.

 

 

 

Ode to a White Ribbon Carpet Moth

 

                 Annie Pang

 

This tiny flitting, whimsy passing by;

is it a bit of petal or of cloth?

Too small to be a tiny butterfly,

by day, could it possibly be a moth?

I try to follow as it hovers near,

and looks as if quite soon it will alight

but then to my dismay, oh dear, oh dear,

it changes course!  Is off again in flight!

 

I chase it here and there, both up and down

and feeling hopeless that I’ll get a shot

do acrobatics, like a foolish clown,

not caring if I wreck my clothes or not.

 

And then she lands so neatly near my leg

and daintily she lays a tiny egg.

Mesoleuca gratulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Annie Pang

Mesoleuca gratulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Annie Pang

 

 

Mesoleuca gratulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Annie Pang

 

 

April 9

2015 April 9

 

   Barbara McGrenere writes:  About 4:30 yesterday afternoon, Mike and I took a short hike to the south slope of Mount Douglas to look for butterflies.  There were eight Sara Orangetips –  one stopped briefly on a low growing plant with purple “pea” type flowers.  There was also one fast flying Propertius Duskywing and one Western Spring Azure that did not stop flying.

 

 

Male Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara (Lep.: Pieridae)

Barbara McGrenere

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Today I saw a Sara Orangetip and a Propertius Duskywing on Christmas Hill, and two Satyr Commas along the Lochside trail between Lohbrunner’s and Blenkinsop Lake. I saw no butterflies at all on Mount Tolmie, but I did find something else of interest.  I came across a small colony of mining bees, probably Adrena sp.  There were about 20 burrow entrances on or beside the path, and several bees flying around them.  But almost as many as the bees were a number of bombyliid flies (Bee flies), probably Bombylius major, obviously interested in the burrows.  I got down on my hands and knees and watched them for a while, pretending to be J. H. Fabre.  Typically a fly would hover about a centimetre immediately above a burrow entrance, and then suddenly it would dart down to the entrance of the burrow in the twinkling of an eye, and be off.  I looked to see if there were any eggs scattered around the entrance to the burrow, but I couldn’t find any.  I watched this behaviour over and over again.  Although I can’t be a hundred percent certain, I believe that when a bee fly darted down in the twinkling of an eye, it probably threw an egg right down into the burrow.  It was fascinating to watch.  There were also a few very tiny bees with a shiny green thorax, which occasionally entered the burrow of the mining bees, and I was sure that this small bee was up to no good.

 

        Courtney Smith sends a photo of a caterpillar found today in Estevan Village.

Silver-spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa argentata

(Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)

Courtney Smith