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.

2022 October 13

2022 October 13

    Just a day after Jochen Möhr photographed  Thera juniperata in Metchosin (see yesterday’s Invert Alert), one turned up in Saanich.  That’s interesting, because all the books I have consulted (writes Jeremy Tatum) give Juniper as the only larval foodplant.  Juniper is not a very common wild plant here, so presumably the moth uses cultivated garden junipers.

Thera juniperata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

  Hallowe’en is approaching, so maybe it’s appropriate that Ian Cooper is photographing spiders along the Galloping Goose trail:

Zygiella sp. (Ara.: Araneidae)  Ian Cooper


Trogloneta sp. (Ara.: Mysmenidae)  Ian Cooper


Enoplognatha ovata  (Ara.: Theridiidae)  Ian Cooper


Enoplognatha ovata  (Ara.: Theridiidae)  Ian Cooper


Neriene digna (Ara.: Linyphiidae)  Ian Cooper


Philodromus dispar (Ara: Philodromidae)  Ian Cooper


Callobius pictus (Ara.: Amaurobiidae)  Ian Cooper


   A brief butterfly note from Ron Flower:  Today October 13 we went back to the McIntyre reservoir where we saw two,  maybe three sulphurs and many Cabbage Whites  – mostly on the east side of the pond.

2022 October 12 morning

2022 October 12

    Cheryl Hoyle sends photographs of a tiny fly and a micro moth from View Royal.  We are not at all certain what the fly is, but a possible guess might be Bradysia from the Famliy Sciaridae.  Flies of this Family are known as dark-winged fungus gnats – although not all have dark wings.  We thank Libby Avis for identification of the micro moth.


Possibly Bradysia (Dip.: Sciaridae) Cheryl Hoyle

Acleris rhombana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Cheryl Hoyle

   Jochen Möhr sends a photograph of a Juniper Carpet moth from Metchosin:

Thera juniperata  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


The Cabbage White caterpillar shown on October 10 has now pupated:

Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Jeremy Tatum

2022 October 11 morning

2022 October 11 morning

  Foodplants of the Banded Woolly Bear (Isabella Tiger Moth). 

   This caterpillar overwinters as a fully-grown caterpillar.   It is seen most obviouslyin October, and again in March.  Because it overwinters as a caterpillar, it is a difficult caterpillar to rear, and I have usually reared them from caterpillars found in March, when they have stopped feeding and are ready to pupate.  Consequently I have not had a clear idea of their foodplants.  Handfield lists a large number of  plants, mostly low-growing herbaceous plants  but also including some surprising ones such as Betula and Syringa.   I offered the caterpillar shown on October 9 some leaves, not being sure whether it was still interested in eating, or was looking for somewhere to hibernate.  I found that it eagerly and hungrily accepted Plantago major (included in Handfield’s list) and Rumex obtusifolium (not on his list)

Crane Flies (Tipulidae) and Winter Gnats (Trichoceridae)

  The Tipulidae is a very large Family.  It includes the large flies such as the familiar Tipula paludosa and similar large insects known here as crane flies and in Britain as daddy-long-legs.  But it also includes many much smaller flies, which superficially bear a strong resemblance to the Winter Gnats (Trichoceridae), and the problem is to tell the difference between the winter gnats and the small crane flies.  Unfortunately winter gnats can be found all year, not just in winter, so that’s no help. There is a difference in the wing venation – but that’s hard to photograph.  Another important difference is that the winter gnats have three tiny ocelli on the top of their heads.  The crane flies have no such ocelli.

  Below are two photographs (dorsal and lateral views) by Ian Cooper of a fly that we believe belongs to one or the other of these two Families.  You can see by the awkward way in which the animal holds its head that getting a clear photograph of the top of the head is going to prove quite a challenge. 

Diptera  – Nematocera  (Tipulidae or Trichoceridae?)  Ian Cooper


Diptera  – Nematocera  (Tipulidae or Trichoceridae?)  Ian Cooper


  The two creatures photographed below by Ian are rather easier to identify.

Raspberry Weevil Otiorhynchus singularis (Col.: Curculionidae)  Ian Cooper


Great Grey or Leopard Slug Limax maximus (Pul.: Limacidae) Ian Cooper

2022 October 10

2022 October 10

     Jeremy Tatum writes:  I bought some Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving Dinner, and found a bonus in one of them:

Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Jeremy Tatum

2022 October 9 morning

2022 October 9 morning

     Here’s a recent photograph of a harvestman by Ian Cooper.

Harvestman (Opiliones)  Ian Cooper

   October is the month when we see Banded Woolly Bears – the caterpillars of the Isabella Tiger Moth Pyrrharctia isabella.  Here’s one from Panama Flats:

Pyrrharctia isabella (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Jeremy Tatum