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 (tatumjb352@gmail.com). 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.

July 4

2015 July 4

 

The monthly butterfly walk is this Sunday, July 7 at 1pm. As always, we will meet at the top of Mount Tolmie and decide on our destination.

 

The forecast is for sunshine and warm temperatures. Butterflies like the heat!

 

For info, reply to this email, or call my cell phone: 250-516-7703.

 

Cheers,

Aziza Cooper

 

 

   Barb McGrenere writes:  On July 1, Mike and I walked up the road to the summit of Observatory Hill.  We saw 6 Pine Whites, 4 Western Tiger Swallowtails, 2 Cabbage Whites, and 3 Lorquin’s Admirals.  Jeremy Tatum comments:  Pine White on July 1!  Any advance on July 1?  Did anyone see one in June?

July 3

2015 July 3

 

   Bill Katz sent a photo of a large beetle – and we assure viewers that the picture of the shoe was taken just for size comparison, and that the beetle was in no danger from it!  Beetle enthusiast Scott Gilmore comments:  My son and I were just drooling over the picture. Wow! What a stunning beetle! Not one I have ever seen but it sure looks like Prionus and the only member of that genus in BC is Prionus californicus. The California Root Borer. From the length of the antennae it must be a female. 

 


Prionus californicus (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Bill Katz

 

   I don’t know whether it made Scott drool further, although I am sure it must have pleased him when he writes:  A few nights ago I had a small beetle land on my arm as I was looking for insects at my CFL light. Vassili Belov was able to identify it as a Pleasing Fungus Beetle Cryptophilus integer, a species not previously recorded from BC. This beetle is often associated with stored products so it is not a surprising find.

 

Cryptophilus integer (Col.: Erotylidae) Scott Gilmore

 

  

   Jeff Gaskin writes: Yesterday, July 2, on Mt Tolmie just around 6 p.m. there were 4 Painted Ladies and with the Western Tiger Swallowtails I saw 2 Pale Swallowtails.

 

  Jeremy Tatum writes: Today, July 3, I visited Gordon and Anne-Marie Hart at their home in the Highlands.  We saw Red Admirals, Lorquin’s Admirals, Western Tiger Swallowtails, Pine Whites, Essex Skippers and a Sheep Moth in their garden.

 

  Barb McGrenere writes:  Today, Mike and I went to Km 14 along Nanaimo River Road to look for Dun Skipper and other butterflies.  After some searching, we found a small patch of Spreading Dogbane (almost finished flowering) where there were several Grey Hairstreaks, one or two Dun Skippers, a few European (Essex) Skippers and one Mylitta Crescent.  Also along the road were several Western Tiger Swallowtails, and a possible Clodius Parnassian (didn’t get a close look, it just flew by).

 

Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Barb McGrenere

 

Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Barb McGrenere

 

Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Barb McGrenere

 

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes: Cheryl Hoyle sends a picture of a small moth from View Royal.  Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying it after I made one of the most embarrassing misidentifications imaginable!  It’s a good thing that I can hide behind this computer terminal with no one to see me.

 

Oecogonia quadripuncta (Lep.: Symmocidae) Cheryl Hoyle

 

July 2

2015 July 2

 

   Scott Gilmore writes:  With the heavy wind in Lantzville I was surprised to see a couple of moths at my light this morning – one I have not seen before. I think it is Leucania farcta but I am not sure I can rule out Mythimna oxygala. Either way it was nice to see.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I can’t tell, either.  To add to the complications, some splitters split farcta into Leucania farcta and Leucania oregona.  I’m going to take the easy way out and label this one “wainscot moth”, which is a general name for this group of moths, most of whose caterpillars are grass-feeders.  It’s almost certainly one of the above three species.

 

Wainscot moth (Lep.:  Noctuidae)  Scott Gilmore

 

 

   Gordon Hart writes:  We saw our first Pine White of the year today on a Buddleia flower.  Jeremy comments:  I have just looked through the Invert Alert Index, and I see that the earliest date that a Pine White has been photographed on this site since it started in 2010 was on July 21, 2013.  That’s doubtless not the earliest date that one has ever been seen in our area, but there’s no doubt that July 2 is a very early date. I don’t know if anyone has ever seen one in June.  Let us know if you have.

Pine White Neophasia menapia (Lep.: Pieridae)  Gordon Hart

 

 

  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I visited Mount Tolmie this afternoon.  The temperature must have been close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  There were no nymphalids basking on the reservoir – they don’t usually come until at least 6:00 pm or later. But there were lots and lots of Western Tiger Swallowtails flying around and over the reservoir.  It was quite an exciting sight.

 

July 1

2015 July 1

 

   Gordon Hart writes: The other day I saw a large orange fly-by while doing a butterfly count, but I think the mystery was solved today when I saw a Robin carrying a large orange and black moth. It is a Sheep Moth, Hemileuca eglanterina. 

 

Turdus migratorius (Pas.: Turdidae) and Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae)

Gordon Hart

 

   Gordon also writes that he had a Grey Hairstreak in his Highlands garden today, and a Painted Lady there yesterday.

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Today, while looking for the Red-eyed Vireo at Blenkinsop Lake, I found a most remarkable geometrid moth, Nematocampa resistaria.  It kept very still, because it knew that I didn’t have a camera with me. (If I had, it would have moved, as all photographers know.) It had remarkable funny-shaped constrasty patches of dark and light on it, being a nice example of disruptive coloration.  These contrasty patches disguise its shape so that Red-eyed Vireos wouldn’t recognize it as being a moth.  If the adult Nematocampa resistaria is remarkable in its appearance, its caterpillar is even more so.  One was shown on this site on June 25, 2011.

 

   Also today I saw a fresh Red Admiral in Uplands Park.  All the same I am not sure that my prediction of a good crop of Red Admirals this summer is going to happen – many of the nettle patches in the area have been cut down by municipal crews in the last few days.

June 30

2015 June 30

 

   Rob Gowan and I finally managed to get the better of our computers, which were initially doing their best to prevent me from posting his picture of Anarta nigrolunata.  This is a moth of the alpine meadows high in the mountains, and it was photographed by Rob right at the top of Mount Washington during the June 13 VNHS trip there.  It has a nice furry thorax, presumably to keep it warm during the chilly mountain-top nights.

 

Anarta nigrolunata (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Rob Gowan

 

   Back home in Victoria on June 27, Rob photographed an Autographa californica sitting on his garden tap – presumably a thirsty moth!

 

Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae) Rob Gowan

 

   Cheryl Gowan photographed a Hesperumia latipennis in Metchosin on June 29.  This is a geometrid, whose caterpillar feeds on Ocean Spray.

 

Hesperumia latipennis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Cheryl Hoyle

   She also photographed a wasp-mimic beetle in View Royal, June 29, identified for us by Scott Gilmore.

 

Xestoleptura crassicornis (Col.: Cerambycidae) Cheryl Hoyle

 

 

   Annie Pang sends photographs of a green lacewing Chrysopa sp. and a brown lacewing.

 

Green lacewing Chrysopa sp. (Neu.: Chrysopidae)

Annie Pang

Brown lacewing (Neu.: Hemerobiidae)  Annie Pang

 

 

   Micromoth specialist Eric LaGasa has recently identified some of the micro moths

that have been photographed recently. Three of them turned out to be Archips rosana:

One of them was from the Metchosin Bioblitz, so I have forwarded the record to them just in case it’s an addition.  [Added later:  Apparently it was!]

Female Archips rosana (Lep.: Tortricidae) Jeremy Tatum

 

Female Archips rosana (Lep.: Tortricidae) Jeremy Tatum

 

Male Archips rosana (Lep.: Tortricidae) Jeremy Tatum

      The following three were photographed during the June 13 Mount Washington trip.

 

Possibly Dicrorampha vancouverana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Aziza Cooper

 

Ancylis sp. (Lep.: Tortricidae) Bill Katz

 

   Libby Avis suggested the identification of the one below.  We saw lots of them on Mount Washington.

 

Eana sp.: (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Bill Katz

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Adult Milbert’s Tortoiseshells started to emerge today from pupae resulting from caterpillars that I found on the Metchosin Bioblitz.  ‘Fraid I didn’t manage to photograph an upperside, but here’s an underside.  I released this one in the Finnerty Gardens (UVic).

 

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Aglais milberti (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum

 

 

   Scott Gilmore writes: Last night I found a "giant" click beetle  that is almost 2 cm long Athous scissus wrapped up in a spider web near a black light.

 

I also found a new to me beetle near a CFL light, Crytarcha ampla.

 

Athous scissus (Col.: Elateridae)  Scott Gilmore

 

 

Crytarcha ampla (Col.: Nitidulidae)  Scott Gilmore