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 3

2018 December 3


   This morning, for the third time this fall, I have found a large bug on my bed.  I assure you that none of them have been Bed Bugs.  This one is a Rough Stink Bug.

Rough Stink Bug Brochymena sp.  (Hem.: Pentatomidae)  Jeremy Tatum

December 2

2018 December 2


   Jeremy Tatum writes:   I visited the Nature House at Goldstream Park today.  There were lots of winter Moths there.  As far as I could tell, they were mostly European Operophtera brumata, or else “dunnos”. I am pretty sure, however, that the one shown below is the native Bruce’s Winter Moth Operophtera bruceata.


Operophtera bruceata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jeremy Tatum

November 30

2018 November 30


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  No butterflies these days, so I am reduced to photographing  the firebrats that share my apartment building with me in Saanich.  Like many other organisms, the firebrats and silverfish have been subject to various changes in taxonomic classification.  They used to be in the Order Thysanura (Three-pronged Bristletails – “Thysanura” is Greek for “bristletail”) of the Class Insecta.   However, several Orders within the former Class Insecta have been moved to a new Class, Entognatha.  Further, the entognathan Order Thysanura has been replaced by two separate Orders – Zygentoma and Archaeognatha.  The present classification of firebrats and silverfish is, I believe:

Phylum Arthropoda

  Subphylum Hexapoda

    Class Entognatha

        Order Zygentoma

           Family Lepismatidae


   The best-known insects entognaths in the large Family Lepismatidae are the Firebrat Thermobia domestica and the Silverfish Lepisma saccharina – although I have never yet seen the Silverfish in Victoria.  The Firebrat is a common commensal in my apartment building.  The animal shown here is neither the Firebrat nor the Silverfish, but is Ctenolepisma longicaudata, rather less common in my building than Thermobia domestica.  As for an English name, Grey Firebrat or Grey Silverfish are used – though I think the former would be more accurate.  The true Silverfish likes cold, damp places.  The firebrats like it warm and dry.


Ctenolepisma longicaudata (Zygentoma:  Lepismatidae)  Jeremy Tatum


November 29


2018 November 29


   Victoria West sends photographs of a female European Winter Moth from her backyard in the Mount Douglas Cross Road area, November 28.


Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Victoria West


Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Victoria West


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  One of the things we are striving to do is to find some reliable means of distinguishing between the European Winter Moth O. brumata, and the difficult-to-find native O. bruceata.  We think we may have found small differences in the male’s wing pattern, in the stemmata (ocelli) of the caterpillars, and even in the cremaster of the pupae!   Another possibility (we are not yet sure) is that the vestigial wing-stubs of the female adult bruceata are even smaller than those of brumata.  If this proves to be so, we would have the surprising result that the females of the two species are easier to distinguish than the males.


  This example has rather strongly-marked wing-stubs, and I therefore considered the possibility that it might be Erannis rather than Operophtera, but I am now pretty  sure that it is Operophtera brumata.


   Another of these wingless female geometrids worth looking out for is Phigalia plumogeraria – which generally appears in February and March.



November 28

2018 November 28


   Kirsten Mills sends a photograph of a Winter Moth  from her apartment near the Hillside Mall.

Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Kirsten Mills