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.

August 27

2015 August 27

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes: Way back on August 8 we received a photograph from Rosemary Jorna of a small but distinctly marked moth from near Kemp Lake.  Its identification beat me.  And then on August 25 Devon Parker sent a photograph of the same species from Mount Wells Drive. Thanks to Libby Avis for identifying them for us as Choreutis diana.  It is interesting to see from photographs of several butterflies and moths received recently how popular Pearly Everlasting seems to be as a nectar source.   You can get an idea of the size of this small moth from the Pearly Everlasting flowers.

 

Choreutis diana (Lep.: Choreutidae)  Rosemary Jorna

 

 

 

Choreutis diana (Lep.: Choreutidae)  Devon Parker

 

 

   Rosemary Jorna sends a photograph of a female jumping spider Phidippus johnsoni

from Kemp Lake Road.  Thanks to Robb Bennett for confirming the identification.

 Phidippus johnsoni (Ara.: Salticidae)  Rosemary Jorna

 

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is another Xestia xanthographa, from my Saanich apartment this morning. Although it doesn’t look very much like the August 22 specimen, the main difference is that in one of them the orbicular stigma is prominent, and in the other it is obscured.  If you ignore the orbicular stigma, the two specimens aren’t that unlike after all.  Apparently the visibility of that spot is quite variable.  The species has a Holarctic distribution, and I was surprised to find, when I looked at my ancient notes, that I had reared the moth from caterpillar, and had made extensive notes on the caterpillar, in England in the 1950s. There it is known as the Square-spot Rustic.  According to South (written more than 100 years ago): “The more or less square reniform, and the orbicular, marks are subject to a good deal of modification…  the reniform may be well defined and prominent, and the orbicular absent.”   This very nicely describes the difference between today’s image and that of August 22.  There is yet another photograph of this species on this site – exactly one year ago, on the posting for August 22, 2014.   It is labelled “possibly”, but in fact I believe it is correct.

Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa  (Lep.: Noctuidae)    Jeremy Tatum

August 26

2015 August 26

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  One Painted Lady on the Mount Tolmie reservoir, 6:30 pm, August 25.

 

   Rosemary Jorna writes: This photo was taken Sunday August 23 on the Sun River Nature Trail on the Sooke River. This medium sized pale bee’s behaviour was new to me. There was an end table sized patch of burrs just coming into flower and this bee was very possessive, it would leave a flower to chase off any other insect approaching the plant. It knocked a skipper, a wasp and another species of bee right off the flowers and would take off to chase others away before they could land. It had a very loud buzz and I did not see another bee of this pale species.  [Jeremy Tatum writes:   Can anyone identify bees and wasps for us?   Please let us know if you can.]

 

Bee (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna

 

  Devon Parker writes:  There was one Cedar Hairstreak, one unidentified hairstreak and a few Woodland Skippers in my backyard today near Mount Wells Drive.  [Jeremy Tatum responds:  This is amazing to have Cedar Hairstreaks as late as this.  As far as I know this is supposed to be a univoltine species.  Perhaps these recent Cedar Hairstreaks weren’t supposed to eclode until next year, but did so this year because of the general effect our prolonged drought is having on the timetables of many species.  Or perhaps it has always been partially bivoltine, but the second generation of this inconspicuous butterfly has been overlooked. Either way, it’s interesting.]

 

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Devon Parker

 

  Rosemary Jorna sends a picture of a caterpillar (probably penultimate instar) of Spilosoma virginica, the Yellow Woolly Bear, from a peony in a garden on Kemp Lake Road today.

 

  Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Rosemary Jorna

 

August 25

2015 August 25

 

   Jeff Gaskin writes:  This morning, Tuesday August 25, the Tuesday birders’ group and I saw a Lorquin’s Admiral at Elk Lake Park. It was between Jennings Lane and the Elk Lake rowing club along the trail.

 

  ‘Fraid that’s all there is for today’s posting – I’m having to leave the office early.   More tomorrow, maybe.   Jeremy

August 24

2105 August 24

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Recently I posted pictures of two unidentified noctuids.  One of them on the August 21 posting  – a day-flying noctuid nectaring on Gordon Hart’s Buddleia.  The other on the August 22 posting – a brown noctuid resting on the wall of my apartment building.  I made two hopelessly wrong guesses at what they might have been.   Libby Avis to the rescue!   Libby has identified them for us, and I have now corrected the captions on these postings.  I’ll make you all work to see them by scrolling down to these two dates.  Thank you, Libby, and apologies, Gordon, for getting yours wrong.

 

  I saw a butterfly  today in the Swan Lake parking lot.  I think I managed to identify it correctly as a Lorquin’s Admiral.

August 23

2105 August 23

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I had an unsuccessful search for the Western Branded Skipper on Cordova Spit today.  In 1.5 hours on the spit all I could manage was one Woodland Skipper and  one Purplish Copper.   On the way back to Island View Beach, in the fields inland from the beach, there were lots of Woodland Skippers and Large Heaths, and a few Cabbage Whites.  At 6:15 this evening there was one Painted Lady on the top of Christmas Hill.

 

   Julie Michaux writes:  This critter is in our home (West Saanich Road) this morning. Very pretty. If it turns out to be a cutworm moth ….   Jeremy Tatum responds:  No, it is not a cutworm, it is

 

 Coryphista meadii (Lep.:  Geometridae)  Julie Michaux

 

Its colourful “inchworm” caterpillar feeds on Berberis and Mahonia.