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 7

2016 December 07


   This is a test posting.  I am trying to work out a new way of posting Invert items.  The picture is not a recent one.  It is an old one of Cucullia montanae, just to see if the new method works.   Jeremy Tatum



Cucullia montanae (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum

    I think it’s going to work!  The old method took about ten minutes per photograph.  The new method took only about an hour.

December 2

2016 December 2


   Today we show some photographs of spiders taken by Thomas Barbin in the Highlands district on November 26.   Thanks to Robb Bennett for the identifications.


Eratigena atrica (Ara.:  Agelenidae)  Thomas Barbin

 Eratigena atrica (Ara.:  Agelenidae)  Thomas Barbin

 Philodromus rufus (Ara.: Philodromidae)  Thomas Barbin

 Philodromus rufus (Ara.: Philodromidae)  Thomas Barbin


December 1

2016 December 1


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I went to Goldstream Park this morning specifically to try to photograph Operophtera bruceata, which I believe (not necessarily correctly) to be the default winter moth there.  I photographed the two (different) individuals shown below.  I think if I had seen them at my Saanich apartment I wouldn’t have hesitated in calling them brumata, but, being at Goldstream, they are probably bruceata. In other words, both of these individuals fall squarely into the category of “I’m not sure”.


Operophtera bruceata/brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

 Operophtera bruceata/brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

   Now more of Thomas Barbin’s fine pictures.  First a Red-cross Shield Bug.  (Viewers will notice that on this site we use the word “bug” only when we mean “bug” – not for any old insect!)  I have labelled the Family as Pentatomidae, though some authors place it in Acanthosomatidae.  Also, the spelling for the species is sometimes given as cruciata.


 Red-cross Shield Bug  Elasmostethus cruciatus (Hem.:Pentatomidae) Thomas Barbin

   Next, two photographs of globose springtails. These days they are no longer insects, but they are entognaths.  That is, they have internal jaws.  The first was identified by Frans Janssens.  The second, related species is not yet identified.  Both were photographed in the Highlands on November 26.


Globose springtail  Ptenothrix macula (Collembola: Dicyrtomidae)  Thomas Barbin


Globose springtail  (Collembola: Dicyrtomidae)  Thomas Barbin


Morgan Davies sends a photograph of a beetle grub from Sidney Island.  For the moment we can take it down to Superfamily level, but no further with certainty.  Nevertheless, there’s a fairly good chance that it is Polyphylla crinita.


Beetle grub,  maybe Polyphylla crinita  (Col.: Scarabaeoidea)  Morgan Davies


November 30

2016 November 30


   Some winter moths are obviously Operophtera brumata;  others are obviously O. bruceata.  Quite often they are “I’m not sure”.  The photograph below, taken in Saanich today, is a clear undoubted Operophtera brumata.  Annie Pang’s photograph on the November 24 posting comes in the “I’m not sure” category.  We now want an undoubted O. bruceata, and some reliable way of distinguishing the species.

 European Winter Moth   Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Now some more remarkable photographs by Thomas Barbin – with luck there’ll be a few more tomorrow.


   First, four photographs of caterpillars (two individuals) of the Barberry Geometer moth, feeding on Mahonia in the Highlands, November 26. 

 Barberry Geometer Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Thomas Barbin


Barberry Geometer Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Thomas Barbin


Barberry Geometer Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Thomas Barbin


Barberry Geometer Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Thomas Barbin


Next, a non-biting midge, from the Highlands, November 26:

 Midge (Dip.: Chironomidae – Orthocladiinae) Thomas Barbin



Next, a stonefly, from Goldstream Park, November 29: 



 Stonefly (Plecoptera)  Thomas Barbin

November 24

2016 November 24


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  The first European Winter Moth to appear on this site this year was on October 20, a rather early date, but they have since been abundant, as usual, in November.  Now Annie Pang sends us a puzzler from her back porch in the Gorge area yesterday, November 23.   Winter moths in Victoria are usually the European Winter Moth O. brumata, and we usually have to go out into the countryside (e.g. Goldstream Park) to see the native Bruce’s Winter Moth (“Bruce’s Spanworm”) O. bruceata.  Sometimes it is not difficult to tell the two species apart; at other times it is difficult.


   Given the locality where Annie photographed her moth, it is probable that it is brumata, and this opinion is shared by other “moth-ers” whom I have consulted.  Yet I believe (I’m a one-man minority so far!) that Annie’s moth shown below may be bruceata.

I base this on the conspicuous dark H or X in the middle of the forewing, which I believe to be diagnostic.  However, since we are not all in agreement on this, I shall label it bruceata/brumata.  Opinions (with reasons!) from viewers will be more than welcome, as will additional photographs of either species.


   One argument against my preference for bruceata is as follows.  In the undoubted examples of bruceata that I have seen, the cell between the two lower arms of the H is often darker than adjacent cells.  This is not so in Annie’s moth, which is therefore a point in favour of its being brumata.  Thus I may be said to be wavering.


Winter moth Operophtera bruceata/brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Annie Pang