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.

October 26

2020 October 26


   Ian Cooper sends a photograph of a more typical Limax maximus than the dark specimen shown in yesterday’s posting.  Both from Colquitz River Park October 16. The white dots on the tail are not part of the slug.  They are probably tiny droplets of moisture reflecting the illumination.


Limax maximus (Pul.: Limacidae)  Ian Cooper

   Since the variation in colour of this species has caused us some trouble in identification, we are thinking that maybe the short longitudnal line (dark in the middle, pale on either side) along the back of the head of this slug may be characteristic (and hence useful for the identification) of Limax maximus:


Limax maximus (Pul.: Limacidae)  Ian Cooper

    Ian photographed this beetle yesterday at Colquitz River Park.  In a similar vein, the tiny yellow dagger mark starting at the scutellum and extending on to the pronotum may be a characteristic mark (among others!) of Plectrura spinicauda:


Plectrura spinicauda (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Ian Cooper

Plectrura spinicauda (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Ian Cooper

   Ian writes:  This delicate fly was minute! Perhaps 4 mm and almost translucent. It showed up as I was gently moving leaf litter aside in hopes of spotting critters among the detritus.

Unidentified (Diptera – Nematocera)   Ian Cooper

Springtail  Orchesella villosa (Coll.: Entomobryidae) Ian Cooper

   Ian  managed to get a video of the springtail crossing a rock:


The fly below is quite tiny.  Probably Drosophilidae, known these days as “vinegar flies”.


Unidentified (Dip.: probably Drosophilidae)   Ian Cooper


October 25

2020 October 25


   Jeff Gaskin reported a Cabbage White from Maddock Avenue, and Kirsten Mills saw one at Panama Flats, both on October 22.


   Another collection of miscellaneous animals from Colquitz River Park photographed October 16-22 by Ian Cooper:

Dark-bodied Glass Snail Oxychilus draparnaudi (Pul.: Daubebariidae) Ian Cooper



Grey Field Slug Deroceras reticulatum (Pul.: Agriolimacidae)  Ian Cooper


   The next one is a very dark slug – darker than is usual for Limax maximus.   But we can’t think of anything better, so that’s probably what it is.  If anyone thinks we are wrong, please do let us know.   It has been given a variety of English names:  Leopard Slug, Giant Garden Slug, Great Grey Slug, etc.


Probably Limax maximus (Pul.: Limacidae)   Ian Cooper


   The woodlouse below is Porcellio certainly; almost certainly P. scaber.


Porcellio scaber (Isopoda: Porcellionidae)  Ian Cooper


   Quick! –  What is the insect below?   Well, of course you all knew that it’s not an insect at all, but it is a springtail of the Family Entomobryidae.


Orchesella villosa (Coll.: Entomobryidae)  Ian Cooper





October 24

2020 October 24


   Mike McGrenere reports seeing two Cabbage White  butterflies in the Martindale area on October 20.  Maybe the last butterflies of the year?   Keep your eyes open!


  Jochen Möhr reports a lone Autumnal Moth from his wall in Metchosin this morning:


Autumnal Moth Epirrita autumnata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


October 23

2020 October 23


   Miscellaneous creatures photographed at dusk at Colquitz River Park by Ian Cooper:


Ian writes:  I see lots of these beetles around. They shun the light and are difficult to photograph because they’re all black and typically run for cover when spotted out in the open. Only when they pause occasionally is there a chance to get a clear shot.


Identified by Scott Gilmore.



Pterostichus sp. (Col.: Carabidae)  Ian Cooper



Ian writes:  Dysdera crocata, a.k.a. Woodlouse Hunter. First time seeing one of these spiders. Was amazed at its bright coloring! Spotted while scanning for random critters among the flora and detritus along the path.

Dysdera crocata  (Ara.: Dysderidae)  Ian Cooper

   Ian writes:  Another view of the same individual as above, this time scrunched up in a defensive posture due to being disturbed/exposed after I lifted the leaf it was hiding under. After the photoshoot, I put some dead leaves back over it, then left it to resume its business.



Dysdera crocata  (Ara.: Dysderidae)  Ian Cooper

   Ian writes:  The small spider below is similar in appearance and size to the Bathyphantes keeni  posted to Invert on October 22. That one had set up shop in the bark of a tree trunk, this one was located on a nearby rock by the trail.

Bathyphantes (probably keeni (Ara.: Linyphiidae) Ian Cooper

   Ian writes:  These two Oniscus asellus woodlice appeared to be feeding on (or investigating) the small twisted slug between them. I accidentally caused their little scene to collapse when attempting to get a closer shot, which separated the slug from the woodlice and allowed me to see that its tentacles were still out, suggesting it was alive. Was this attempted predation, carrion seeking, or simple curiosity?

Woodlice Oniscus asellus (Isopoda:  Oniscidae) with slug.  Ian Cooper

Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Ian Cooper


October 22

2020 October 22


   Ian Cooper photographed this spider  in a hollow of a large conifer’s rough bark at dusk at Colquitz River Park.  Dr Robb Bennett comments:

If it is a “relatively” big spider  it may be a female Pimoa altioculata. If small, then it could be one of several linyphiids, e.g., a species of Bathyphantes (among whom the pimoids used to be classified).

Jeremy Tatum writes: A subsequent photograph of it next to the tip of a key shows that it was really quite a small spider, and further close-ups showed that it is Bathyphantes.

Further comments by Dr Bennett after seeing the additional photographs:  I’m pretty sure now that this spider is a female linyphiid in the genus Bathyphantes. It is quite likely Bathyphantes keeni.



Bathyphantes (probably keeni) (Ara.: Linyphiidae)  Ian Cooper

Same spider with key for size comparison.  Ian Cooper

   Ian also took more photographs of a harvestman, which I think is his Oligolophus tridens


Oligolophus tridens  (Opi.: Phalangiidae – Oligolophinae)  Ian Cooper

Oligolophus tridens  (Opi.: Phalangiidae – Oligolophinae)  Ian Cooper

   Ian also photographed the caddisfly-larva-like case of the caterpillar of a tineid moth on a treetrunk.  You can just see the head of the caterpillar poking out of the upper end of the case.


Phereoeca uterella  (Lep.: Tineidae)  Ian Cooper