Winter in Summerland: rare insect #2


This post is long overdue, but back in January I encountered several snow scorpionflies while hiking in the snow in Summerland. Snow scorpionflies belong to the family Boreidae, within the order Mecoptera (scorpionflies), although they may be more closely related to fleas than other mecopterans. They are unique in that they are flightless and seem to thrive in cold climates. Despite being flightless, they move quite quick by jumping, and are apparently called snow fleas.

I’ve never seen these in the Vancouver area, despite looking for them several times. They were fairly ubiquitous around the afternoon when hiking in the snow, although they are once again hard to find now that the snow has melted. I’ve read that they hide in moss and loose soil in warmer times of the year.

Fun fact: the official mascot of the Entomological Society of B.C. is Boreus elegans, a species of snow scorpionfly (




Earth Balls on Burnaby Mountain


I saw a couple of earth balls today while hiking a trail on Burnaby mountain. I haven’t seen any before, outside of books and mushroom shows. Apologies for the blurry photos, the lighting wasn’t so great.


DSC00177 DSC00188

SFU Exploration

Today was a great day for some exploring. Earlier in the day when I got to SFU I noticed some bright red poppies right by the bus loop. There were plenty of pollinators buzzing about, mainly syrphid flies and bumble bees.
Later on during a break I stumbled across some fungus, partly thanks to an anonymous tipster.
In the evening I joined up with said tipster and we did some exploring. Unfortunately my camera battery died before the real fun stuff, but I did get some nice fungus photos.

Some really interesting Hymenopterans were just west of the first bus loop, as well as some Hemipterans, spiders and a seemingly deceased dragonfly.

The real fun began when we explored passed Residence down into an area I’ve been meaning to explore for a while now. Apparently this was a bear’s home, and it turned out to be true. Bear scat was found, as well as a nice big footprint of its hind paw, right in front of a pond full of tadpoles and insects. The tadpoles were small and black for the most part, with some larger ones that were likely bull frogs. The sight of the day was seeing an immature salamander with its external gills still present.
On our way out we heard a barred owl hooting, and soon after some crows calling out. No luck in viewing the owl though.

Here is an approximate list of what we saw:

Barred Owl
Northern Flicker
Northwestern Crow
Barn Swallow
European Starling
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco

tadpoles, and an immature salamander

Deer tracks, bear tracks/scat

Hymenopterans (bumble bees, solitary bees, parasitoid wasps, ants)
Hemipterans (pentatomid, scale bug, spit bug, white flies)
Various dipterans

Interesting red dragonfly with yellow wings

And of course, last but not least, lots of black european slugs and a big fat banana slug (sorry, no pictures)