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.

April 16

2016 April 16

 

   Another Friendly Reminder.  Contributors please do try to remember that it is a huge help if you

 

     1. Send photographs as an attachment, not in the body of the message.

     2. Say where the animal was.  (Not “in my back yard” – I don’t know where your back yard is!)

     3. Say when you saw it.  (Not “yesterday”.  The date, please!

 

  Thank you all!

 

   Scott Gilmore sends from Lantzville photographs of a prominent moth and a ladybird beetle (the latter found by his son), both of which were lifers for him.  To the uninitiated, the moth may look like just another of the hordes of featureless grey or brown noctuids.  But to the enthusiast, it’s an exciting moth.  Not a noctuid at all, but a notodontid, an exciting family known as “prominents”.  The caterpillar of Gluphisia severa feeds on Populus.  The ladybird is the Two-spotted Ladybird.

 

Gluphisia severa (Lep.: Notodontidae)  Scott Gilmore

 

Two-spotted Ladybird  Adalia bipunctata (Col.: Coccinellidae)

Scott Gilmore

 

 

   Rebecca Reader-Lee writes that on April 15 Emma found the spider shown below on the floor inside the house.  Robb Bennett tells us that it is either Coriarachne brunneipes, or Bassaniana utahensis.  He writes that they both pretty much look the same at the “whole spider” scale.

 

Coriarachne brunneipes or Bassaniana utahensis  (Ara.:  Thomisidae)

  Rebecca Reader-Lee

 

April 15

2016 April 15

 

   Annie Pang sends a photograph of a bee fly, Bombylius sp.  This is a large genus, but the fly shown seems to resemble closely a female B. major.  They throw their eggs down the holes of mining bees.

 

 Bee fly Bombylius sp. (probably major)  (Dip.: Bombyliidae)  Anne Pang

 

 

April 14

2016 April 14

 

MONTHLY BUTTERFLY COUNT

 

   Gordon Hart writes:

 

Hi Butterfly Counters.

This weekend marks the beginning of the 2016 Butterfly Count season. As always, the count period is from the third Saturday to the fourth Sunday – nine days, or April 16-24 this year. You can submit a count anytime over this period, and you can do more than one count, just use a separate form for each count. In the case of repeat counts or more than one person counting an area, I will take the highest count for each species.

Please use the form at http://www.vicnhs.bc.ca/?p=33 on the Victoria Natural History Society website.

 

The count area is the same as the Christmas Bird Count circle. For butterfly identification there are numerous internet sites, but most or all Victoria species are listed on E-Fauna. If you select by photographer, all the photos under James Miskelly’s name are of Victoria species: http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/efauna/photoGallery/Gallery.aspx?gr=showall&pid=175&photographer=miskelly,%20james&specrep=0

 

I am now acting as coordinator of the count, as Aziza is taking a break. Please let me know if you want to be removed from this list. If you know of anyone who would like to be added, please ask them to send me their email address.

 

If you would like a suggestion for an area to count, please send me an email.

In addition to the counts, a monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month – May 1st,  is the next walk. We start at the summit of Mount Tolmie at 1pm, and decide where to go from there. The walk will be cancelled if the weather is cool or rainy.

Thank-you for submitting your sightings and happy counting! 

Gordon Hart

Butterfly Count Coordinator

Victoria Natural History SocietyChristmas Bird Count circle Victoria.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a moth from my Saanich apartment, and a snail from UVic, both photographed today.

 Hypena californica (Lep.:  Erebidae – Hypeninae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

Cepaea nemoralis (Pul.: Helicidae)    Jeremy Tatum

April 13 morning

2016 April 13,  morning

 

   Some more wonderful pictures from the Highlands District from the last few days contributed by Thomas Barbin.  First, a leafhopper bug – the Blue-green Sharpshooter Hordnia atropunctata:

 

 

Hordnia atropunctata (Hem.: Cicadellidae)   Thomas Barbin

 

Two images of a sawfly, probably Tenthredinidae, not only because this is the largest sawfly family, but because the other families usually have rather distinctive antennae.   I am reminded that this site is perpetually in need of someone who can help with Hymenoptera identification, so, if that is you, please let us know!

 

Sawfly  (Hym.:  Tenthredinidae)   Thomas Barbin

Sawfly  (Hym.:  Tenthredinidae)   Thomas Barbin

Now a close-up of a click beetle.

 

Click beetle  (Col.:  Elateridae)   Thomas Barbin

If you have strong nerves, proceed to the next photograph, rated PG:

 

Ant  (Hym.:  Formicidae – Formicinae)  Thomas Barbin

 

If you managed to get past that one, prepare for the last two – jumping spiders.  Robb Bennett suggest they may both possibly be Evarcha proszynskii, but he says that he can’t be completely sure.

 

Jumping spider, possibly Evarcha proszynskii (Ara.:  Salticidae)  Thomas Barbin

Jumping spider, possibly Evarcha proszynskii (Ara.:  Salticidae)  Thomas Barbin

Time for something a little more gentle, I think.   Here is a Moss’s Elfin, photographed by Jeremy Gatten.

 

Moss’s Elfin Incisalia mossii (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Jeremy Gatten.

 

And a caterpillar that Jeremy Tatum found on Snowberry at Swan Lake on April 12:

 

Euceratia securella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum

Jeremy Tatum writes:  The moth below was on the wall of my Saanich apartment a week or so ago.  Eric LaGasa suggests that it might be Agonopterix fusciterminella, though it would need dissection to confirm.

 

Possibly Agonopterix fusciterminella (Lep.: Depressariidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 

The moth below, identified by Eric LaGasa as Argyrotaenia franciscana, from Blenkinsop Lake, was reared from Oemleria cerasiformis.

 

Argyrotaenia franciscana (Lep.: Tortricidae)    Jeremy Tatum

 

April 12

2016 April 12

 

   Rebecca Reader-Lee sends photographs of four moths from North Highlands, April 11.  All are members of notoriously tricky pairs, and Jeremy Tatum is grateful to Jeremy Gatten for help with the identifications.  It turned out that we agreed on the identification of the first three – Feralia comstocki, Orthosia transparens, and Hypena californica.  The fourth is a not-quite-pristine-fresh example of one or other of the very tricky pair Triphosa haesitata / Coryphista meadii, and it turned out that Jeremy opted for one of them and Jeremy opted for the other!  So – if anyone else would like to throw his or her hat into the fray and say (with reasons!) which of the two you think it probably is – do please let us know!

 

Feralia comstocki (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee

Orthosia transparens (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee

 Hypena californica (Lep.: Erebidae – Hypeninae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee

Is it Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)?

Or is it Triphosa haesitata (Lep.: Geometridae)?

Rebecca Reader-Lee

We haesitate to say.

 

 

The next moth, found on April 10 by John Costello in Grant Park, where the path crosses Amblewood Drive, near the top of the Cordova Ridge, and photographed by Chantal Jacques, is a bit easier to identify!  It is a female Ceanothus Silk Moth Hyalophora euryalus.

 

 

Ceanothus Silk Moth Hyalophora euryalus (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Chantal Jacques

 

Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here are a moth and a beetle (weevil) from my Saanich apartment, April 12.

 

Eupithecia ravocostaliata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

Raspberry Weevil Otiorhynchus singularis (Col.: Curculionidae)  Jeremy Tatum

   Jody Wells sends us a bit of a challenge.  What is this on the eye of a swan?

Jeremy Tatum writes:  At first glance it looked to me a bit like a collembolan, but in view of its habitat (!), it is almost certainly a biting louse, also known as chewing louse, also known as bird louse (Class Insecta,  Order Phthiraptera, probable Family Philopteridae).  And, for interest, this is not the first time we have had a phthirapteran on this site!  We had one on a Northern Saw-whet Owl on December 4, 2011.

In addition to the challenge of identifying the louse, there is also the challenge of identifying the swan!  The picture was taken at Esquimalt Lagoon, where a Trumpeter Swan and a Tundra Swan have been together in close company for some months.  There is no doubt that the louse is on the head of the Tundra Swan, and the swan in the background is the Trumpeter Swan.

 

 

Biting louse (Phthiraptera) on Tundra Swan       Jody Wells

Biting louse (Phthiraptera)

on Tundra Swan

Jody Wells

 

   And, in case any of you were wondering what a “collembolan” is (see previous paragraph) here is an absolutely remarkable photograph of a collembolan photographed by Thomas Barbin in the Highlands District On April 7, and this is the first collembolan to feature on this site.  Collembolans, or springtails, are tiny, tiny animals, many of which are found in the soil or in the forest duff.  This one is a globular springtail Ptenothrix maculosa.  You’ll notice that I wrote “animal” rather than “insect”.  Springtails were at one time classified as insects, but, as we all know, taxonomy forever changes!  It is my understanding that the Phylum Arthropoda now includes a Subphylum Hexapoda, and the Hexapoda contains two Classes, Insecta and Entognatha.  So, springtails are no longer insects – they are entognaths!  And globular springtails belong to the Order Symphypleona, and the one illustrated below is in the Family Dicyrtomidae.  At least I think I’ve got that right!   More pictures from Thomas Barbin tomorrow.  Jeremy Tatum.

 

Ptenothrix maculosa (Symphypleona: Dicyrtomidae)  Thomas Barbin