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 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

 

 

April 8

2015 April 8

 

    Jeff Gaskin writes:   There was a Satyr Comma on Hector Road near Interurban Road around 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 7, and it looked in pretty good condition.

 

    Barbara McGrenere writes:  This afternoon, Mike and I had a Western Elfin basking on a rhododendron in our garden in Saanich.  It was cooperative and I have attached a photo.

 

Western Elfin Incisalia iroides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)

Barbara McGrenere

 

April 7

2015 April 7

 

   On April 6, Mike andBarbara McGrenere wrote:  This morning, Mike and I saw four Sara Orangetips near the summit of Observatory Hill.   And on April 7 they wrote:  It was a great morning for butterflies on Mount Douglas.  There were 30 Sara Orangetips on the lower and upper open south facing slopes of Mount Douglas.  Also there was one male Propertius Duskywing near the path along the lower SW facing slope.  And two Western Spring Azures as you come out of the forest to the open SW facing slope.

 

  Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of a caterpillar of Lophocampa argentata from Rithet’s Bog this morning.

 

Silver-spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa argentata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)

Jeremy Tatum

April 5

2015 April 5

 

   The last few days have been either cold or wet, and we have had no reports of butterflies for a week.  However, today was sunny and, if one could get out of the wind, not too cold, and some butterflies were on the wing.

 

   David Robichaud reported that Western Elfin butterflies are flying at Government House this week, along with Cabbage White, Sara Orangetip and Western Spring Azure.

 

  Jeremy Tatum and Bill Savale saw one each of Cabbage White, Sara Orangetip, Western Spring Azure and Mourning Cloak at Latoria Creek Park today.

 

  Also today, Jeremy Tatum saw a very pretty little geometrid moth with bright orange hindwings at Tower Point.   It was Dasyfidonia avuncularia – a lifer for him.

 

  Aziza Cooper writes: Today the butterfly walk group [that’s that first of this year’s monthly VNHS butterfly walks that Aziza runs] saw one Propertius Duskywing and a Spring Azure at Mount Tolmie. We went on to the Government House grounds where there were about six Spring Azures and eight Cabbage Whites. We saw two Cabbage Whites mating.   We also saw a Brown Creeper catch and eat a moth with a fat body and wings with a black and white pattern. Last Monday on the west slope of Mount Douglas I saw another Propertius Duskywing and six Sara Orangetips.

 

  Bill Katz photographed a geometrid moth in Haro Woods on April 4, kindly identified for us by Libby Avis as Perizoma curvilinea, a new one for this site.

 

Perizoma curvilinea (Lep.: Geometridae)  Bill Katz

 

      Bill also photographed a maggot at Haro Woods, which Jeremy believes is the larva (also known as a leatherjacket) of a crane fly.

 

Leatherjacket – maggot of crane fly (Dip.: Tipulidae) Bill Katz

 

 

April 2

2015 April 2

 

   Scott Gilmore sends photographs of a looper caterpillar that he found on a Douglas Fir in Upper Lantzville yesterday.

 

Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Scott Gilmore

 

Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Scott Gilmore

 

 

   Libby Avis writes:  I’m sending along a couple of March Flies, female on the left and male on the right. The genus is Bibio but I don’t know the species. Quite distinctive because the males’ eyes are so much larger than the females’. Came across a number of these on the Log Train Trail in Port Alberni yesterday.

 

   Jeremy Tatum comments: Although these are often called March Flies, in our area they are usually most noticeable in April.  The group is named after a common European species, Bibio marci, which does not mean “of March”.  Rather, it means “of Mark”, so called because the species is often abundant near to St Mark’s Day, which is April 25, and they are perhaps better referred to as St Mark’s flies.

St Mark’s fly  Bibio sp. (Dip.: Bibionidae)  Libby Avis