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.

February 27

2020 February 27

 

    Jochen Möhr sends several pictures of moths from his Metchosin home yesterday and today, a few of which are shown here.  The Egira hiemalis and Phigalia plumogeraria are relatively easy, but Jochen has us all (Jochen, Libby Avis and myself, Jeremy Tatum) working hard over the pugs (Eupithecia) and highflyers (Hydriomena).  The two possible pugs are Eupithecia annulata and E. olivacea, and I don’t think any of us is willing or able to say with 100 percent certainty which they are, so I’ll label them either/or.  The typical early highflyer is Hydriomena nubilofasciata, and some of these have indeed appeared recently.  But some of Jochen’s recent highflyers are H. manzanita.  H. manzanita usually doesn’t appear quite so early in the year, and they are usually rather grey and without much colour.  Yet some of Jochen’s highflyers have appeared deceptively colouful – but the details of the patterns together with the characteristic wing-shape, or way of holding their wings, have shown that they are H. manzanita.  The caterpillars of H. nubilofasciata feed on Garry Oak, and the caterpillars of H.manzanita feed on Arbutus and – unsurprisingly! – on Manzanita.

 


Eupithecia annulata/olivacea (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Eupithecia annulata/olivacea (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Hydriomena manzanita (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

Hydriomena manzanita (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 


Phigalia plumogeraria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 

Egira hiemalis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 

 

 

February 25

2020 February 25

    Jochen Möhr writes from Mechosin: This morning 16 Eupithecias, most out of reach of the camera, one E. hiemalis and one plume moth.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I think the default Rumpel Taube-like plume moth here is probably Emmelina monodactyla, whose caterpillar can often be found inside the flowers of Calystegia.  There are several other plume moths locally, but they don’t look quite like this one.

 


Emmelina monodactyla (Lep.: Pterophoridae)  Jochen Möhr


Eupithecia annulata/olivacea  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Egira hiemalis (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr

 

February 24

2020 February 24

 

   Brigitte Rixen sends a photograph of a cocoon and pupa of a Polyphemus Moth found under a Garry Oak tree in Nanoose Bay.

 


Antheraea polyphemus (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Brigitte Rixen

 

   Jochen Möhr reports 8 Eupithecia (annulata/olivacea) and 1 Hydriomena nubilofasciata

from Metchosin this morning.

 


Hydriomena nubilofasciata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

 

 

Eupithecia annulata/olivacea (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

February 23

2020 February 23

 

   Mr E sends a photograph of a chironomid midge from Thetis Lake, February 18.

 

Non-biting midge (Dip.: Chironomidae)   Mr E

February 21

2020 February 21

 

   Gordon Hart writes from the Highlands, February 20: 

 

     The sun brought out several bee species and one butterfly. Anne-Marie saw it perched briefly and I was able to get fleeting glimpses in flight, and at a distance it appeared to be dark orange-brown and black . We are pretty sure it was a California Tortoiseshell.  Unfortunately, I could not relocate it for a photo. The bees were more obliging. There were several identical bumblebees, possibly Bombus melanopygus, the Black-tailed Bumblebee. I have enclosed a photo of one on Heather flowers.

 

     Thanks to Lincoln Best and Annie Pang who both concur that it is B. melanopygus, which, they write, is usually the first bumblebee to appear in spring.

 

Black-tailed Bumblebee  Bombus melanopygus (Hym.: Apidae)  Gordon Hart