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 10

2020 June 10

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

1 Stenoporpia excelsaria

1 Callizzia amorata 

1 Clostera apicalis

1 Dysstroma citrata 

1 Iridopsis emasculatum 

1 Nadata gibbosa (still the same)

1 Neoterpes trianguliferata   

1 Hydriomena sp

1 Apamea antennata

1 Perizoma curvilinea

1 Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli

 


Clostera apicalis (Lep.: Notodontidae)  Jochen Möhr

Dark Marbled Carpet Dysstroma citrata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Stenoporpia excelsaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr



Neoterpes trianguliferata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Iridopsis emasculatum (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Hydriomena sp. (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Perizoma curvilinea (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Apamea antennata (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I don’t usually post pictures of dead insects, but this dead crane fly in my Saanich apartment yesterday was so spectacular that I couldn’t let it pass without photographing and posting it.

 

Male Tipula pubera (Dip.: Tipulidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

Male Tipula pubera (Dip.: Tipulidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

 

June 9

2020 June 9

 

   Rosemary Jorna sends photographs of two bees from the Otter Point area, June 8.  Thanks to Annie Pang and Lincoln Best for the identifications.

 


Lasioglossum sp. (Hym.: Halictidae)  Rosemary Jorna

 


Bombus mixtus (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

1 Agrotis vancouverensis

1 Callizzia amorata

1 Eupithecia sp.

1 Homorthodes hanhami

1 Hydriomena marinata or californiata

1 Anavitrinella pampinaria

2 Lacinipolia cuneata

1 Nadata gibbosa (still the same one)

1 Perizoma curvilinea

1 Pero morrisonaria

4 Tyria jacobaeae

1 Xanthorhoe defensaria

 

 

Jeremy Tatum writes – and I’m sure Jochen agrees –  What ever would we do without the daily help of Libby Avis with identification of these moths!


Anavitrinella pampinaria (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr

 


Homorthodes hanhami (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Hydriomena marinata/californiata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Callizzia amorata (Lep.: Uraniidae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Agrotis vancouverensis (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr

 


Lacinipolia cuneata (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr

 


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Pero morrisonaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Perizoma curvilinea (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

June 8

2020 June 8

 

Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:   In the corner of the room behind my computer resides a spider.  I presume it is Pholcus phalangioides.  I have watched it for days.  At one time it caught a Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli.  It took it some 30 minutes to subdue it.  Then it consumed it and since the next morning, the moth’s remains are in the corner of my desk.

 

Then yesterday, I saw another slightly larger but similar spider with a less rounded abdomen approach across the wall.  I presume the newcomer was a male and the well fed resident a female. [But see Dr Bennett’s comments below.] The newcomer went directly towards the resident and they started to touch each other with their long front legs.  I assumed it was beginning courtship and I was reminded of Mozart’s “Reich mir die Hand, mein Leben!”   [Là ci darem la mano!]

 

But then the resident one turned around and rather speedily went off.  It is now under the ceiling some 1 1/2 meters above the newcomer, who has taken up residence where the other used to be.

 

Libby Avis asks: On a less romantic note, is this one of the species where the male has to be careful not to be eaten by the female?  Jeremy Tatum replies:  Not sure, but recall that on May 11 Jochen had a photograph of one eating the formidable spider Eratigena.

 

   Dr Robb Bennett writes:  The one on the right is definitely a mature female. Not so sure about the beast on the left – could be a male but I can’t tell for sure and I think it may “just” be an immature specimen. Males usually look much more spindly.  Perhaps Jochen can obtain a close-up of that spider’s head region that would enable us to tell if it’s a mature male.

 


Pholcus phalangioides (Ara.: Pholcidae)  Jochen Möhr

   But after looking at Jochen’s great movie (link below,  set to Mozart’s Là ci darem la mano, very rough free translation:  “Let us hold hands”,  Zerlina on the right, the Don on  the left) Robb writes:  Well, it certainly looks like courtship behaviour.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r4F7CFijxs&t=15s

 

 

Mr E sends a picture of a Maritime Earwig having rather a lot of trouble with spider webbing on driftwood at Devonian Park, June 7.

 

Maritime Earwig Anisolabis maritima (Derm.: Anisolabididae)  Mr E

  This young grasshopper was photographed by Mr E at Portage Inlet Park.   Since it’s a youngster, we have to be content with identification at genus level – thanks to Claudia Copley.

 

Young grasshopper Melanoplus sp. (Orth.: Acrididae) Mr E

   This beetle, too, was at Portage Inlet.  Scott Gilmore writes:  This is a tough angle but I’m pretty sure this is from the genus Agrilus.

 

Agrilus sp. (Col.: Buprestidae)  Mr E

  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Chris Jochen sent me the following link to a short spectacular movie showing hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, bats sucking nectar and pollinating plants.  Not strictly within the purview of Invert Alert, but I dare say viewers will enjoy it anyway.

 

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xHkq1edcbk4?rel=0

 

 

 

June 7

2020 June 7

 

  The mites on yesterday’s Sexton beetle have now been identified.  See the entry for June 6 to see comments by Dr Heather Proctor.

 

   Rosemary Jorna sends pictures of a Red Admiral and a Crusted Root Weevil (identified by Scott Gilmore) from the Kemp Lake area, and a damselfy from Broom Hill.  It is difficult to distinguish between the Northern and Boreal Bluets from photographs.  Rosemary reports seeing the first Lorquin’s Admiral of the year on Broom Hill.  All observations June 6.

 

Red Admiral  Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Rosemary Jorna

 

Crusted Root Weevil, Romualdius scaber (Col.: Curculionidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Northern/Boreal Bluet Enallagma annexum/boreale (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)  Rosemary Jorna

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

1 Nadata gibbosa (Does it intend to die here? Is it dead already?)

1 Tyria jacobaeae

1 Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli

 


Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

   Ron Flower writes:  I went out to Eddy’s Storage (Stelly’s Cross Road, Central Saanich) today June 7th to see the Field Crescents, of which I saw at least a dozen. Mostly behind the two parked pickup trucks.

 

Field Crescent Phyciodes pratensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

 

 

  Jeremy Tatum writes:  It is June 7, and I still haven’t seen any swallowtail!   Are other viewers finding them scarce?

June 6

2020 June 6

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

1 Adela septentrionella

1 Nadata gibbosa (still the same)

1 Protitame subalbaria

1 Tyria jacobaeae

 


Protitame subalbaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

   Jody Wells sends a miscellany from “airport-ish”!

 

Common Whitetail Plathemis lydia (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

Cardinal Meadowhawk Sympetrum illotum (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

 

Jeremy Tatum writes:  I had to get Dr Rob Cannings to identify the next three more difficult ones!

 

 

Common Whitetail Plathemis lydia (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)  Jody Wells

Young female Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)  Jody Wells

  Scott Gilmore didn’t need to see much of the beetle below to identify it as Nicrophorus sp.  Dr Heather Proctor, University of Alberta, writes:  Wow, that is a massive load of mites! The beetle is a burying beetle of the genus Nicrophorus (Silphidae). On BugGuide there are two species illustrated from BC, N. defodians and N. investigator. Unfortunately, the mites cover up the characters needed to differentiate between them. The good news is that I can identify the mites to genus because of their host: they are deutonymphal Poecilochirus (Mesostigmata: Parasitidae). Despite the family name, they aren’t parasites, just phoretic hitchhikers (though in numbers this large they probably do cause the beetle some problems by interfering with locomotion). The mites are catching a ride to the next place where the beetle will bury a carcass, where they will dismount, eat nematodes and fly eggs/larvae, mature, mate and lay eggs. The next generation of mites departs on the young Nicrophorus once they have matured.

Sexton beetle Nicrophorus sp. (Col.: Silphidae)

with mites Poecilochirus (Mesostigmata: Parasitidae)

Jody Wells

Sexton beetle Nicrophorus sp. (Col.: Silphidae)

with mites Poecilochirus (Mesostigmata: Parasitidae)

Jody Wells

   Jody writes: I brought home cattails to replenish nesting materials around my window bird feeder….after I had installed … I noted  the fluff was moving…but no breeze…. The immatures look very ominous…like something one does not want to have in one’s hair.  Jeremy Tatum comments:  Yes, I agree, I do not want these in my hair.

 

Cattail Bug with nymphs Chilacis typhae (Hem.: Lygaeidae) Jody Wells

Cattail Bug with nymphs Chilacis typhae (Hem.: Lygaeidae) Jody Wells


Arion rufus  (Pul.: Arionidae)  Jody Wells

   Val George writes:  Yesterday afternoon, June 5, there were several dozen dragonflies flying around at Gore Park.  These included two Eight Spotted Skimmers Libellula forensis, at least a couple of Western Pondhawks Erythemis collocata,  several meadowhawks, mostly Cardinal Meadowkhawks Sympetrum illotum and at least one Yellow-legged Meadowhawk Sympetrum vicinum, and several darner species that I couldn’t identify to the species level.

 

Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Val George

 

Jeff Gaskin writes:  Yesterday afternoon, June 5th,  I checked Eddy’s Storage on Stelly’s Cross Road, and I found three Field Crescents.  Today, June 6th, around 1 p.m. a Western Tiger Swallowtail flew past my Mom’s yard on Wascana Street.  [And I still haven’t seen a swallowtail  –  Jeremy Tatum]