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 30

2020 December 30


    Some frustratingly difficult Operophtera (Winter Moth) puzzles from Jochen Möhr in Metchosin today.   Are they the native O. occidentalis, or the introduced European O. brumata?   Jeremy Tatum writes:   If the moth is rather uniformly grey or brown and unpatterned, I believe it to be O. brumata.   O. occidentalis is usually heavily patterned – but O. brumata can be heavily patterned, too, so that makes things difficult.  However, some well-patterned Operophtera have the middle terminal cell darker than the adjacent cells, and this middle terminal cell is often “grasped” by a dark H in the middle of the forewing.  This creates an impression of a dark streak from the middle of the forewing to the middle of the outer margin, particularly obvious when viewed from a distance.  I believe (though it may need DNA work to be certain) that these are O. occidentalis.   I have labelled them below as best I can, but cannot guarantee!


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera sp.  (not sure!)  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

   And if these aren’t difficult enough, how about the next one!   Because it is holding its wings in a more rooflike manner than geometrids usually do, it looked a slightly different shape than a typical winter moth (apparently narrower and more pointy wings), and deceived me into thinking that it was something totally different!  Thanks to Jochen Möhr and Libby Avis for convincing me that it is  Operophtera brumata again.

Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

More puzzles in line for tomorrow!


December 28

2020 December 28


    Some spiders and a harvestman, photographed recently along Colquitz Creek or along the Galloping Goose trail by Ian Cooper, with comments or identifications by Dr Robb Bennett (spiders) and Dr Philip Bragg (harvestman).   And a beetle, identification confirmed by Scott Gilmore.


  Dr Bennett writes:  The first three, and probably the fourth, are Pimoa altioculata.  A very interesting genus of spiders.


Pimoa altioculata (Ara.: Pimoidae)  Ian Cooper



Pimoa altioculata (Ara.: Pimoidae)  Ian Cooper


Pimoa altioculata (Ara.: Pimoidae)  Ian Cooper



Probably Pimoa altioculata (Ara.: Pimoidae)  Ian Cooper



   The next two, continues Robb, are mature female and male linyphiines, I think a species of Neriene.

[Jeremy Tatum adds:  I think Dr Robb probably identifies the sexes by (among other features) the size of the “boxing gloves” (pedipalps) – larger in the male.]


Female, probably Neriene (Ara.: Linyphiidae)  Ian Cooper




Male, probably Neriene (Ara.: Linyphiidae)  Ian Cooper



   Of the spider below, Dr Bennett writes:  This is a species of Cybaeus, not sure which one—around here, reticulatus and eutypus are most common. And so is signifer but I think this beast is more likely to be reticulatus or eutypus.



Cybaeus sp.  (Ara.:  Cybaeidae)  Ian Cooper



   Dr Bragg writes, of the harvestman below:  One of the problems of showing the intact organism is that the depth of field is too great for sharp pictures. Another problem with harvestmen identification is that in many cases the specimen needs to be examined under the microscope to be sure. That said, I am not sure what species we have here. It is probably in the Subfamily Leiobuninae. It could be Nelima paessleri but I am not sure.

Harvestman.  Possibly Nelima paessleri (Opiliones: Sclerosomatidae – Leiobuninae)

Ian Cooper

Scaphinotus angusticollis (Col.: Carabidae)  Ian Cooper

December 23

2020 December 23


   Gordon Hart writes: Yesterday, Tuesday, December 22, while parts of Greater Victoria were covered in ice and snow, we walked along the snow-free Songhees walkway bordering the Inner Harbour, and found bees and flies enjoying winter-blooming Mahonia and other flowers. I have attached photos of a Bombus vosnesenskii (Yellow-faced Bee) and a fly species (House Fly?).


Bombus vosnesenskii (Hym.: Apidae) Gordon Hart


      Jeremy Tatum writes:   I’m pretty sure that the fly is a muscine, but not certain that it is Musca domestica. The venation of the fly below is very similar to that of M. domestica, but M. domestica usually has a few longitudinal stripes on the thorax, which I don’t see on this one.  If any viewer can go further, please let us know.


Dip.:  Muscidae – Muscinae        Gordon Hart

December 21

2020 December 21


   Another interesting bunch from Colquitz River Park, December 18-20, by Ian Cooper.  Thanks to Dr Robb Bennett for confirming Ian’s spider identification.


Scotophaeus (probably blackwalli)  (Ara.:  Gnaphosidae)  Ian Cooper


Limax maximus (Pul.: Limacidae)  Ian Cooper



Devil’s Coach Horse Ocypus olens (Col.: Staphylinidae)  Ian Cooper



Notiophilus sp. Col.: Carabidae)  Ian Cooper



   We can’t identify them all!   If anyone has any ideas on the one below, please let us know.  My guess (Jeremy Tatum) is possibly Insecta.  Maybe even, a very slight possibility, Diptera.  In other words possibly the maggot of some species of fly.   But I could be way out.

Insecta?   Larval Diptera??   Ian Cooper

December 18

2020 December 18


   Some spiders and slugs from Ian Cooper, identified to Subfamily (it’s a huge Family – thousands of species!) by Dr Robb Bennett:


Spider (Ara.: Linyphiidae – Linyphiinae)  Ian Cooper

Another (different) spider (Ara.: Linyphiidae – Linyphiinae)  Ian Cooper

   And some difficult slugs.   Robert Forsyth writes:


The smaller slugs are Arion (subgenus Carinarion), as I see the characteristic, pale “pseudo-keel” of enlarged tubercles along the centre of the tail. This is the group that includes A. fasciatus, A. silvaticus, and A. circumscriptus.


The large slug is interesting. I’m not sure what it is. A very pale Ambigolimax valentianus ???



Large slug possibly Ambigolimax valentianus (Pul.: Limacidae)

Small slugs Arion (Carinarion) (Pul.: Arionidae)

Ian Cooper