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.

June 21

2020 June 21

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  The plutellid caterpillar shown below fed on Mahonia, and is fairly distinctive in appearance as plutellids go.  The adult, shown beneath it, emerged from its cocoon today;  it is relatively undistinctive.  Thanks to Libby Avis for pointing out the very close similarity, adult and larva, to Ypsolopha ochrella (formerly Y. rubrella).  This may be that species or a very close congener.

Another unidentifed plutellid was shown on May 19 (cocoon) and June 3 morning (adult).

 

Close to Ypsolopha ochrella (Lep.: Plutellidae – Ypsolophinae)   Jeremy Tatum

Close to Ypsolopha ochrella (Lep.: Plutellidae – Ypsolophinae)   Jeremy Tatum

 

Kirsten Mills writes:  I was walking to my car when I saw this moth being attacked by a wasp. Is there any chance you can identify it? I saw it this morning. [Jeremy Tatum says:  Yes!  It is a Polyphemus Moth – unfortunately a little too beaten up by the wasp to post its battered corpse here!}  The next picture is a Clodius Parnassian I saw June 17 on Nanaimo River Road.

 

Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Kirsten Mills

   Annie Pang has a wasps’ nest on her house in the Gorge Area.  We thank Claudia Copley for identifying them for us.

 

 

Common Aerial Yellowjacket  Dolichovespula arenaria (Hym.: Vespidae)   Annie Pang

Common Aerial Yellowjacket  Dolichovespula arenaria (Hym.: Vespidae)   Annie Pang

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

1 Callizzia amorata

1 pterophorid

1 possible Eudonia commortalis

1 Iridopsis emasculatum

1 Perizoma costiguttata 

1 Protitame subalbaria 

1 Stenoporpia excelsaria

 

Lep.: Pterophoridae   Jochen Möhr

Possibly Eudonia commortalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr


Perizoma costiguttata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

June 20 evening

2020 June 20 evening

 

Message from Gordon Hart:

 

Hello Butterfly Watchers,
The June count period starts Saturday June 20 until Sunday June 28. This is an informal census of butterfly numbers and species in Greater Victoria. The area is defined by the Christmas Bird Count circle, extending from Victoria to Brentwood Bay and Island View Road in Central Saanich, and west to Happy Valley and Triangle Mountain, and Langford Lake and Goldstream areas. 
You can submit a count any time over the count period, just use a separate form for each count and location. In the case of repeat or duplicate counts, I will use the higher numbers. To submit counts, please use the form from the VNHS website at: http://www.vicnhs.bc.ca/?p=33
If you have difficulty with the form, just send me an email with the information.
Thank-you for submitting your sightings and good luck with your count.
-Gordon 

 

 

   Re: Teasels at McIntyre reservoir, Gordon suggests: “I wonder if there is someone to talk to about the Teasels later on? The  younger Michell who is often at the farm market is friendly to birders so perhaps someone could ask him if he could leave them for a few weeks.”

 

   So…, if anyone gets an opportunity…

 

   Jeff Gaski n writes:  Just a quick note to let you know that Kirsten Mills just phoned and told me she saw a Red Admiral,  3 Painted Ladies, 6 Lorquin’s Admirals and a Western Tiger Swallowtail on Mount Tolmie around 1: 30 p.m. today, June 20.  The Red Admiral and Ladies were by the reservoir.

 

  Gordon Hart sends a picture of a Crab Spider Misumena vatia  with some formidable prey at Munn Road:

 


Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisidae) with bumble bee.  Gordon Hart

 

   Jeremy Tatum went to Lochside Drive between Lohbrunner’s and Blenkinsop Lake this afternoon, hoping to see some of the succession of rare birds that have been queueing up there recently.  I didn’t see any of them, but by way of compensation I saw a spectacular Essex Skipper that I bet some of the crack birders missed.

June 20 morning

 

2020 June 20 morning

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

1 Agrotis vancouverensis

1 gorgeous, fresh, unblemished Antheraea polyphemus

1 Dysstroma citrata 

1 Enypia packardata

1 Pasiphila rectangulata

1 Homorthodes hanhami

2 Hydriomena californiata

1 Iridopsis emasculatum

3 Pero morissonaria

2 Stenoporpia excelsaria 

3 Tyria jacobaeae

 


Agrotis vancouverensis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Antheraea polyphemus (Lep.: Saturniidae) Jochen Möhr

 


Antheraea polyphemus (Lep.: Saturniidae) Jochen Möhr

 


Homorthodes hanhami (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr

 


 Dysstroma citrata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Pasiphila rectangulata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Enypia packardata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Hydriomena sp.  (Lep.:  Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Iridopsis emasculatum (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Pero sp.  (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

 


Stenoporpia excelsaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

 

June 19 afternoon

2020 June 19 afternoon

 

Message from Gordon Hart:

 

Hello Butterfly Watchers,
The June count period starts Saturday June 20 until Sunday June 28. This is an informal census of butterfly numbers and species in Greater Victoria. The area is defined by the Christmas Bird Count circle, extending from Victoria to Brentwood Bay and Island View Road in Central Saanich, and west to Happy Valley and Triangle Mountain, and Langford Lake and Goldstream areas. 
You can submit a count any time over the count period, just use a separate form for each count and location. In the case of repeat or duplicate counts, I will use the higher numbers. To submit counts, please use the form from the VNHS website at: http://www.vicnhs.bc.ca/?p=33
If you have difficulty with the form, just send me an email with the information.
Thank-you for submitting your sightings and good luck with your count.
-Gordon 

 

 

 

 

   Jeremy Tatum found two Painted Lady caterpillars on thistle along Martindale Road.  Here’s one of them.   He also notes that there is a huge Teasel crop at McIntyre reservoir – not in flower yet, but getting there. That patch of Teasels often attracts a lot of nectaring  butterflies.  Last year the Teasels were cut down just at a critical date.

 

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Jeremy Tatum

 

June 19 morning

2020 June 19 morning

 

   There do seem to be at least a few swallowtails in our area, but they, and other butterflies, are evidently very scarce this year.  There are probably many combinations of causes for this.  We often blame the spraying of Btk for the mythical Gypsy Moth for this.  This is doubtless part of the problem, for the Btk is not specific to Gypsy Moth but is fatal to any leaf-eating caterpillar.  But this is not the only cause.  We have  had a succession of wet springs, especially this year’s, when it has been cold and wet at the very time that many butterfly species would lay eggs.  And there is the constant and growing problem of habitat loss.  Doubtless viewers can think of many other reasons for the decline in butterfly numbers. 

 

   Here are some thoughts from Jochen Möhr.  He is referring to the sparse sightings he described in yesterday’s posting:

 

   I am intrigued by the extent to which these sightings confirm the observations of Josef Reichholf: The disappearance of butterflies is most dramatic in meadows and agricultural areas.  In Germany the abundance is now down to 4 % of what it was in the seventies (and I remember very well that in the seventies it was only a shadow of what it had been in the forties and fifties).  

 

  Reichholf blames agricultural overfertilization for this decline, because it creates dense tall vegetation, which causes a hostile microclimate and inhospitable habitat in the meadows, which close to the ground are too wet and too cool for the support of insects.   

 

  I am also excited about what he recommends as a remedy: One hectare of “Butterfly meadow” (“Schmetterlingswiese”) per thousand inhabitants in rural communities.  I have not found out all the detail of what he recommends as “Schmetterlingswiese” but I get the impression that it is along the lines of what Chris and I are doing here at our place.  And the regular presence of a variety of day flying and night active lepidoptera, as well as the presence of scores of bumble bees, honey bees, etc., on our flowering shrubs seem to suggest that we are on the right way.  

 

 

   Jody Wells sends photographs of a White Satin Moth from  Cattle Point.  The caterpillars feed on various Populus and Salix, but the species is typically often associated with Aspen, as in one of Jody’s photographs.

 

White Satin Moth Leucoma salicis (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Jody Wells

 

White Satin Moth Leucoma salicis (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Jody Wells

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

1 Hesperumia latipennis 

1 Lophocampa maculata

1 Perizoma costiguttata

4 Tyria jacobaeae

 


Perizoma costiguttata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Hesperumia latipennis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr