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 (tatumjb352@gmail.com). 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.

2023 December 4

2023 December 4

Aziza Cooper sends photographs of two insects from the front door of the Swan Lake Nature House, December 3.

The first is a crane fly, Family Tipulidae.  The best known crane fly is probably the introduced European Tipula paludosa.  There are many quite small tipulids that can be difficult to distinguish from winter gnats (Trichoceridae).  T. paludosa is not the only large one – several local ones are at least as large, or larger, and quite handsome.   Aziza’s is one of the large ones, and, I think it may be said, a handsome one.   If anyone can identify it, please do let us know.

Crane Fly  (Dip.: Tipulidae)  Aziza Cooper

 

The second is a fresh and rather well-marked European Winter Moth Operophtera brumata.  This species varies a lot as to how well-marked it is.  Many are fairly bland, such as the ones shown on November 23 and November 10.  Can we say that Aziza’s one, like her crane fly, is a handsome one?

Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Aziza Cooper

 

2023 November 23

2023 November 23

   Here is a male of the same species as shown yesterday – a European Winter Moth.

 Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)     Jeremy Tatum

2023 November 22

2023 November 22

  Here is a female European Winter Moth Operophtera brumata from Saanich today.

Female Operophtera brumata  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

2023 November 14

2023 November 14

   Jochen Möhr sends pictures from Metchosin of the moth known as Erannis vancouverensis.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  This species looks so like the European E. defoliaria that I have long suspected that they are one and the same species.   These are males; the females, like the Winter Moth, have no functional wings.

Erannis vancouverensis/defoliaria  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

Erannis vancouverensis/defoliaria  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Erannis defoliaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Butterfly Conservation UK

Winter Moths Operophtera sp. are now approaching the peak of their season.  Most are the European Winter Moth O. brumata, but in some places, in particular Goldstream Park, the native O. occidentalis is to be found.  Val George went to Goldstream today and photographed two winter moths (below).  Jeremy Tatum writes that he believes both are O. brumata.

 

Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Val George

Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Val George

2023 November 10

2023 November 10

   Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:  Finally, an Operophtera – but which one?

Jeremy Tatum writes:  I’d call this O. brumata.  I had two at my Saanich apartment this morning – the first I’ve seen here this season.   Moth-ers might take their cameras to the Goldstream Park Nature House, where sometimes O. occidentalis is the most numerous of the Winter Moths.  There is even a chance there of finding the rarer one, O. danbyi.

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

 

While thinking of yesterday’s photograph of a butterfly drinking tears from the eyes of a caiman, I seem to remember reading somewhere that one of our erebid moths sometimes imbibes fluids from the eyes of cattle.  I have forgotten which moth – it may possibly have been the Herald Moth Scoliopteryx libatrix.  If any viewer has information on this, please do let us know.