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 17

2020 December 17


Jochen Möhr sends a photograph of a Ctenolepisma  firebrat from Metchosin.  This one lacks the four rows of pale spots that Libby Avis’s one of December 13 had.  That is why, writes Jeremy Tatum, I *think* Jochen’s  is Ctenolepisma longicaudatum, whilst Libby’s was L. lineatum.

Ctenolepisma longicaudatum (Thysanura: Lepismatidae)  Jochen Möhr

   And here’s a globose springtail and a slug from Colquitz River Park, photographed by Ian Cooper:


Ptenothrix sp.  (Coll:  Symphypleona – Dicyrtomidae)   Ian Cooper

Limax maximus (Limacidae)   Ian Cooper


December 14

2020 December 14


   Ian Cooper recently photographed two small beetles at Colquitz River Park, identified for us by Charlene Wood as staphylinids (rove beetles).  The first is a bit too dark to identify safely below Family level. 


Rove beetle (Col.: Staphylinidae)  Ian Cooper


   The second (below) is in the genus Stenus, which, according to a Web reference, is reputed to be the largest genus in the Kingdom Animalia, with a reputed 56,000 species.   Charlene writes:   Stenus sp. are very cool, large eyed, rove beetles adapted to live at the edge of water margins. They can propel at high speeds across the surface of water by expelling “stenusol” from the tip of their abdomen, changing the surface tension and making them pretty fantastic predators in this situation. They also have a very long extendable labrum with sticky pads for grasping prey. 


Rove beetle Stenus sp. (Col.: Staphylinidae)  Ian Cooper


   And here, from the same place, is an immature male linyphiine spider, just possibly (Dr Bennett) a species of Neriene


Possibly Neriene (Ara.: Linyphiidae – Linyphiinae) Ian Cooper

December 13

2020 December 13


     Jeremy Tatum writes:  My recent plea for a photograph of a genuine Silverfish Lepisma saccharinum brought an interesting response from Libby Avis in Port Alberni. 


     First, two photographs of a Silverfish Lepisma saccharinum from 2020 August 26.   Note that the Silverfish has much shorter cerci and epiproct (the things at the tail-end!) than other lepismatids.


Silverfish Lepisma saccharinum (Thysanura: Lepismatidae) Libby Avis

Silverfish Lepisma saccharinum (Thysanura: Lepismatidae) Libby Avis



   Next – Ctenolepisma, from 2012.  The genus Ctenolepisma was formerly regarded as feminine, but it has now been declared to be neuter.  Therefore, writes Jeremy Tatum,what I have been calling C. longicaudata on this site is now to be called C. longicaudatum.  However, this photograph below may be a different species, namely   C. lineatum.   Notice the four rows of pale dots.   I think (not sure) that longicaudatum may have a longer abdomen) than lineatum, and possibly longer legs, too.


 I should probably sometime  (if I can find the time) go through earlier photographs of Ctenolepisma on this site, and see if we can determine which of the two species they are.




Ctenolepisma (probably lineatum) (Thysanura: Lepismatidae) Libby Avis


   As for English names,  originally “The” Silverfish  was Lepisma saccharina (now saccharinum), and “The” Firebrat was Thermobia domestica.  Other species in the family are called variously by different authors  either adjective silverfish or adjective firebrat.


   But we haven’t finished yet.  On 2020 October 29, Rick Avis found the interesting creature below in the Avis’s yard.   A blind and colourless three-pronged bristletail in a related Family,  Nicoletiidae:


Thysanura – Nicoletiidae      Libby Avis


Thysanura – Nicoletiidae      Libby Avis



   The photograph below shows the three caudal (tail) appendages.  The middle one is called the epiproct.  The outer two are cerci

Thysanura – Nicoletiidae      Libby Avis



Classification:  None of the creatures shown or mentioned in this posting are classed today as insects.  They are not in the Class Insecta:


I believe it goes something like this


Phylum:     Arthropoda

  Subphylum:    Hexapoda

      Class:                  Entognatha

            Subclass:          Zygentoma

                    Order:            Thysanura

                         Families:       Lepismatidae,  Nicoletiidae


The Order Zygentoma are “Three-pronged Bristletails”.     “Jumping Bristletails” (Microcoryphia), and “Two-pronged Bristletails” (Diplura) are different Orders.


  Variations on this are to be found in the literature.  For example, some authors treat Zygentoma as an Order, and do not use the word Thysanura.

December 11

2020 December 11


    Jochen Möhr sends a further collection of Operophtera from Metchosin yesterday.  Jeremy Tatum and Jochen agree on the probable identifications as labelled below.


Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr



Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


   Springtails used to be lumped within a single Order – Collembola.  Collembola is now a Class (or to some authors a Subclass), divided into three or four Orders.


Above:  Orchesella villosa (Coll: Entomobryomorpha –  Entomobryidae)

Below left:  Ptenothrix sp. (Coll:  Symphypleona – Dicyrtomidae) 

Ian Cooper

December 10

2020 December 10


   Winter is fast approaching, yet there are still lots of invertebrates around, and even a butterfly is not impossible.  Ron Flower saw two Honey Bees and a bumble bee (probably Bombus vosnesenskii) at Swan Lake on Sunday, and Ian Cooper is finding an amazing array of creatures in Colquitz Creek Park:

Fourteen-spotted Ladybird Calvia quatuordecimguttata (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Ian Cooper

Sphenophorus sp. (Col.: Curculionidae)  Ian Cooper

   Thanks to Scott Gilmore for the identification of this beetle.  Apparently they are popularly (but not on this site!) called “billbugs”.

Elongate-bodied springtail Tomocerus sp. (Collembola – Entomobryomorpha – Tomoceridae)

 Ian Cooper

Dark-bodied Glass Snail Oxychilus draparnaudi (Pul.: Daubebariidae)  Ian Cooper

Lauria cylindracea (Pul.: Lauriidae)  Ian Cooper

   Yesterday, Jochen Möhr wrote from Metchosin:  This morning, the abundance of Operophtera continues.  There were 25 critters on the wall.  I would boldly call 21 of them O. brumata, and at least two occidentalis, and two look like in between.


Here are our best attempts at identification of seven of them:

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochem Möhr

Operophtera (maybe occidentalis) (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera occidentalis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera (maybe occidentalis) (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr