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.

2022 May 27 morning

2022 May 27 morning

    A correspondent sends a photograph of a pristine-fresh Spilosoma virginica seen in East Metchosin yesterday.  This is the adult of the familiar Yellow Woolly Bear caterpillar that we see in late summer.

 

Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)

2022 May 26 morning

2022 May 26 morning

    Gordon Hart sends photographs of caterpillars of the Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina from Snowberry in Uplands Park, May 24.  In the second photograph you can see the cast skins (exuviae) of the previous instar.

 

Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Gordon Hart

Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Gordon Hart

   I have noticed (writes Jeremy Tatum) that some recent authors (not Gordon!) have taken to calling this moth the “Elegant” Sheep Moth.  This is strongly to be discouraged – it shows ignorance of etymology rather than knowledge of entomology.  The species name eglanterina is derived from one of the larval foodplants, the sweetbrier (sometimes spelled briar) rose Rosa eglanteria, and has nothing whatever to do with “elegant”.  The exact etymological origin of eglanteria is somewhat uncertain , but it  is believed to mean “spiny” or “sharp” – the sweetbrier has quite large spines.

 

These caterpillars are fairly conspicuous at this time of year, so viewers are reminded that they should not be handled.  They have poisonous spines of their own, and can give you quite a rash.

 

Jeremy Tatum writes: I happened to notice the egg shown below at Munn Road yesterday – it was hard to miss.  Any moth-er will instantly know what it is.  From its shape and form it is a geometrid ovum, and it is fairly large – so we have a large geometrid moth.  The leaves have spines, and will be recognized as Mahonia.  A large geometrid moth whose larval foodplant is Mahonia could scarcely be anything other than Coryphista meadii.

 

Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

2022 May 25

2022 May 25

    Val George writes:  Monday, May 23, I did my official May butterfly count for Mount Douglas and the surrounding area. Result: 7 Cabbage White, 4 Sara Orangetip (photo of a female attached), 1 California Tortoiseshell, 4 Western Spring Azure.

Female Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara (Lep.: Pieridae)  Val George

   Jeremy Tatum writes that there was a Red Admiral on the Mount Tolmie reservoir at 5:00 pm today.

2022 May 24

2022 May 24

   On May 23 Val George had, on his Oak Bay property, a rather worse-for-wear Ceanothus Silk Moth Hyalophora euryalus, which he spared the indignity of being photographed when not at its best.

   And today he had at his home the woodling (Egira sp.) shown below.  At this time of year we have come to dread the problem of distinguishing between Egira crucialis from E. simplex.  Some of them are easy; others are less so.  Libby Avis and Jeremy Tatum are in agreement that this is one of the difficult individuals;  one of us leans towards crucialis, while the other opts for simplex. Thus we’ll have to be content with labelling this one as an either/or.

Egira crucialis/ simplex (Lep.: Noctuidae)

   Jeremy Tatum photographed today the little white moth below from Swan Lake:

 

Euceratia castella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum

2022 May 23 afternoon

2022 May 23 afternoon

    Jochen Möhr sends a photograph of a Xanthorhoe defensaria  from his Metchosin home this morning.

 

Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr

   Gordon Hart sends a photograph of a female Tule Bluet along the Munn Road power line.

Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)  Gordon Hart

   Jeremy Tatum reports a rather worn Red Admiral on the Mount Tolmie reservoir at 4:45 pm today.