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 ( 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 28

2018 December 28


   Jeremy Tatum writes:   I did really well out of Christmas.  Santa sent me the new book:


Pacific Northwest Insects, by Merrill Peterson, Published by Seattle Audubon Society 2018

ISBN 978-0-914516-18-7


    I shan’t give a detailed critical review here (I haven’t read it yet!), but suffice to say that this is a superb book, which anyone who is interested in the terrestrial arthropods of our area will want to have.


   I say “arthropods” because, in spite of the title “Insects”, it is not restricted to insects, but it covers all Classes and Orders (and probably most Families – I haven’t checked in detail) of terrestrial arthropods in the Pacific Northwest, including Vancouver Island.


   This book is going to be a huge help in identification.  It has my highest recommendation.



December 27

2018 December 27


Jeremy Tatum writes:

Winter Moths:   Wanted:  Best quality photographs of good-condition winter moths, male or female.

Winter  moths (Operophtera sp), like so many other insects, are in a state of taxonomic flux.   At present it seems that there are four named species in North America:

O. brumata             European Winter Moth

O. bruceata             Bruce’s Winter Moth

O. occidentalis        Western Winter Moth

O. danbyi                 Danby’s Winter Moth


plus a possible new species in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

There are additional species in Europe (e.g. O. fagata) not (yet?) seen in North America.

   I believe that, in urban and suburban Victoria and the immediate vicinity, almost all of the winter moths are the European Winter Moth O. brumata.

    However, in the surrounding countryside, for example Metchosin and Goldstream Park, in addition to brumata, there is another species, which I have hitherto called bruceata.  It seems, however, that the eastern and western populations of our common native winter moths are best treated as two separate species.  True bruceata is a species of eastern North America.  The one we get here should be called O. occidentalis.  It may be a while (if at all!) before I can get round to relabellng all “bruceata” photographs on Invert Alert as occidentalis.

   We have two photographs in Invert Alert so far of O. danby, a relatively uncommon species, which is distinct enough from the others that its identification may be relatively easy.  The two danbyi photographs were  both from Goldstream Park – one by myself (Invert Alert 2012 December 8) and one by Bill Katz (2018 January 17).

   In the meantime, this morning I went to the Goldsream Park Nature House, where there were hundreds of winter moths around the lights.  I believe both species were there.   Unfortunately, all were males – the females evidently can’t reach the walls of the Nature House.  I took four photographs of males, all of which I believe to be occidentalis, before the camera battery ran out.  (Isn’t it difficult to get good photographs! So many things to go wrong!)

   Then, when I got back to the office, I found that Jochen Möhr had sent two photographs from Metchosin – one of occidentalis and one of brumata.

Western Winter Moth Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

Western Winter Moth Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

Western Winter Moth Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

Western Winter Moth Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

Western Winter Moth Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

European Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr



December 17

2018 December 17


   Jeremy Tatum writes: we can’t expect to see many caterpillars at this time of year (except perhaps for Noctua pronuba), so it was nice to find a Banded Woolly Bear just inland from Island View Beach today.

December 12

2018 December  12


   Scott Gilmore writes:  There is not a lot to report at this time of year but I did have this Scaphinotus marginatus  cross my path yesterday here in Lantzville. 


Scaphinotus marginatus (Col.: Carabidae)  Scott Gilmore

December 10

2018 December 10


   Jochen Möhr has sent a series of photographs of Winter Moths from Metchosin, including some interesting undersides, which we don’t often see.  I think they are mostly the European Operophtera brumata, except for one, which I (Jeremy Tatum) think is probably our native O. occidentalis.


Operophtera brumata (Lep.:  Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr



Operophtera brumata (Lep.:  Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr



Probably Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.:  Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr