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.

August 19 afternoon

2020 August 19 afternoon

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

1 Amorbia cuneanum

1 Campaea perlata

1 Aseptis binotata

1 Dasychira grisefacta

4 Eulithis xylina

1 Evergestis funalis 

1 Hydriomena speciosata

2 Lacinipolia strigicollis

2 Neoalcis californiaria 

1 Perizoma curvilinea

1 Pyrausta perrubralis

 

 

 


Hydriomena speciosata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Evergestis funalis  (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr


Pyrausta perrubralis (Lep.: Crambidae) Jochen Möhr


Aseptis binotata (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  In this morning’s posting I said how embarrassed I was at having mistaken a caterpillar of a noctuid dagger moth Acronicta impleta  for a species of tussock moth (Orgyia, Dasychira) of a quite different Family  (Erebidae – Lymantriinae).   I am slightly comforted to learn that I am not the first person to be so deceived.  In Wagner et al.‘s book on noctuid caterpillars, under the description of Acronicta impleta I read:  The Yellow-haired Dagger provides a promising case for larval mimicry: its caterpillar looks remarkably like those of a tussock moth in the genus Dasychira, sharing the same overall shape, lashes and tufts.  It matches in detail; e.g., the setae that make up the shorter tufts are densely plumed and downy, like those of a tussock moth caterpillar.  Behaviours, too, are copied; when  alarmed, the Yellow-haired Dagger caterpillar will arch its first two abdominal segments, more fully displaying its tufts, in much the same fashion as the true tussock moths.  As further evidence of the resemblance, let it be known that two of the coauthors of this volume believed they had collected a tussock moth caterpillar at the time the larva was boxed up to Connecticut to be photographed and reared.

 

I hope, therefore, that my temporary lapse will be forgiven.

 

In any case:  If any viewer comes across a tussock caterpillar, please, please retain it.  I can give immediate advice on keeping it, or may be able to come and fetch it myself.  Quite apart from the possible confusion with the dagger, a new question has arisen, asked both by Sharon Godkin and David Wagner:  O.antiqua is supposed to have lateral pencils on T3, but these seem to be absent on the caterpillars in this morning’s photographs.   Also, are we correctly distinguishing between O. antiqua  and O. pseudotsugata?

 

Bottom line:   If you find any tussock caterpillars, please retain them and let us know a.s.a.p.  We are most interested in studying them.

 

Well, not quite the bottom line.  Just before we go to press I heard from Jeff Gaskin, who writes:

There were 42 Ringlets at Layritz Park this morning August 19.  Plus a further  11 Ringlets and 5 Woodland Skippers in the fields on the Horticultural Centre Lands by Markham Road.

 

And one more last thing, before I press the Send button.  Jochen Möhr’s Orgyia pseudotsugata  (and  I think there can be no doubt what it is) has just formed a cocoon:

 


Orgyia pseudotsugata (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Jochen Möhr

 

August 19 morning

2020 August 19

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I don’t normally include sightings and photographs of invertebrates from off-Island on this site, but Sharon Godkin sent a photograph of a tussock caterpillar from Powell River just at a time when I am interested in these caterpillars.  First, here are photographs of two confidently-identified species, posted recently on this site and repeated here:

 

 


Orgyia antiqua (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Jeremy Tatum

Foodplant: Black Cottonwood

 


Orgyia pseudotsugata (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Jochen Möhr

Foodplant:  Douglas Fir

Now – an embarrassing admission!  In an earlier version of this posting, I had presented the caterpillar below as another tussock.   It is not even remotely related to the tussocks.  It is a dagger (Genus Acronicta) – a noctuid.

Acronicta impleta (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum

Foodplant: Salmonberry

And now, a photograph sent to Invert Alert this morning from Powell River by Sharon Godkin.  I initially assumed that it was O. antiqua, but now I’m not so sure.  O.antiqua feeds on a wide variety of foodplants – trees, shrubs, low-growing weeds, but this one was on Typha, rather unusual for antiqua, so maybe it’s something else.

 

 

Something else?   Sharon Godkin

Foodplant Typha

 

Lastly, since I’ve cheated a bit this morning by going off Vancouver Island to Powell River for Sharon’s caterpillar, I can’t resist going a bit further and showing a photograph of a singularly beautiful Orgyia sent to me by Dr David Wagner from (I think?) California:

 


Orgyia cana (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)   David Wagner

   To finish off this morning’s Invert Alert, here are two more views of Ian Cooper’s beewolf first shown yesterday:

 

Beewolf Philanthus crabroniformis (Hym.: Crabronidae)  Ian Cooper

Beewolf Philanthus crabroniformis (Hym.: Crabronidae)  Ian Cooper

    I asked David Harris (Newhaven, Sussex, England) whether there are beewolves in England and he replied:  Not only do we get Beewolves over here, but I think Newhaven must be the Beewolf city judging by the hundreds we have seen on our local nature reserve so far this year. I will dig out some photographs my friend Pete has taken of them recently. Locally some of ours have the yellow behind the eye rather than the more normal red.  And we found one the other day bigger than a Hornet.  Despite the text books saying they only feed on Honeybees, here this is just not true. I`m sure they must take some, but locally they seem to go for Yellow – legged Mining Bee and also linger well into November feasting on Ivy Bee. Again, not mentioned in the text books!

 

More this afternoon…

 

August 18

2020 August 18

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:

 

1 Oligia divesta

2 Neoalcis californiaria 

1 Perizoma curvilinea

 


Oligia divesta (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  On August 11 and 12 I posted photographs of a penultimate instar caterpillar that I had originally misidentified as Orgyia antiqua. Now that it is in its final instar, I see that it is in a totally different Family.  It is a noctuid, Actronicta impleta.

 


Actronicta impleta (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Actronicta impleta (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Actronicta impleta (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum

  And now a few recent photographs from Ian Cooper.   We may be able to refine the identifications in the next few days.

 


Coccinella septempunctata (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Ian Cooper


Misumena vatia  (Ara.: Thomisidae)  Ian Cooper


Bombus melanopygus/mixtus (Hym.: Apidae)  Ian Cooper

Annie Pang says not quite sure which of the  two it is.


Eristalis arbustorum (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Ian Cooper

Dr Jeff Skevington writes:  That hourglass shape on the abdomen makes it either Eristalis arbustorum or E. brousii. The broad yellow base to the mid tibia makes it arbustorum.

 

Beewolf Philanthus crabroniformis (Hym.: Crabronidae)  Ian Cooper

Claudia Copley would like a dorsal view to be quite sure.

Clearwing moth.  Synanthedon bibionipennis  (Lep.: Sesiidae)  Ian Cooper

 

August 17 afternoon

2020 August 17 afternoon

 

    Mike Yip writes from Nanoose:  Pleasant surprise to find a second generation Mylitta Crescent in my yard this afternoon. 

 

Male Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip

 

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning. 

 

1 Eupithecia sp

1 Hydriomena speciosata

2 Lacinipolia pensilis 

1 Lacinipolia strigicollis 

2 Nemoria darwiniata 

7 Neoalcis californiaria 

1 Nycteola frigidana

1 Syngrapha rectangula

2 Panthea virginarius 

 

   Interesting to see the large number of Neoalcis californiara. Gordon Hart reports from Highlands that on a recent night there were 7-10 at each of three lights.



Hydriomena speciosata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Nycteola frigidana (Lep.: Nolidae)  Jochen Möhr

 


Syngrapha rectangula (Lep.: Noctuidae – Plusiinae)  Jochen Möhr

 

Uncertain, but possibly a worn Dasychira grisefacta (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)

Jochen Möhr

 

   Jochen writes that he has had numerous sightings of Pine Whites around the house – up to three at a time.

 

Pine White Neophasia menapia (Lep.: Pieridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 

 

August 17 morning

2020 August 17 morning

 

   Some recent photographs by Ian Cooper:

 


Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisidae)  Ian Cooper

 


Cepaea nemoralis (Pul.: Helicidae)  Ian Cooper

 


Cepaea nemoralis (Pul.: Helicidae)  Ian Cooper

 


Physocephala burgessi (Dip.:  Conopidae)  Ian Cooper

 


Physocephala burgessi (Dip.:  Conopidae)  Ian Cooper

 

   Ron Flower sends a photograph of a Black Saddlebags along the Goldstream River on August  15.

 

Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Ron Flower

 

 

 

   On August 16, Ron saw six Margined Whites north of Cowichan Station, and he photographed this one:

 

Margined White  Pieris marginalis (Lep.: Pieridae) Ron Flower

 

   Ron also photographed the dragonfly below.  Not so easy to see the details, but Dr Rob Cannings writes:  My guess is a young male Sympetrum madidum (Red-veined Meadowhawk). The thoracic stripes are strong, like those of madidum and pallipes, but there are no strong dark lateral triangular marks on the abdominal segments found in pallipes. The stripes tend to disappear with age, leaving ventral spots. The reddish wing veins in all parts of the wing also suggest madidum. Not an easy one.

 


Sympetrum (probably madidum) (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Ron Flower