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.

June 25

2017 June 25


   Reminder:  Please send photographs as attachments in .jpg format.  It makes life so very much easier for me.  Jeremy Tatum.


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Peter Boon photographed an interesting moth in the Nanaimo River estuary on June 23.   Not only could I not identify it, but it turns out that it was one that I hadn’t even heard of!  Libby Avis identified it for us as Leucania dia – and she reports that she had also found one a few days ago in Port Alberni.  This moth was until recently regarded as a subspecies of another species of wainscot moth; it was named a full species only a few years ago, in 2010.


Leucania dia (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Peter Boon



   Peter Boon writes:  During a hike up Mount Becher today I found 4-5 commas patrolling the mid-lower slope trails.  One seemed to like perching on my hat, so I took it off to snap a photo or two. Lower down on the old ski runs I found a fresh Western Meadow Fritillary. Also seen on the lower slopes was a Pale Tiger Swallowtail.


   Butterfly enthusiasts are asked to look carefully at Peter’s comma photographs and to let us know which species you think it is.  Please do let us know what you think, and why.



Comma Polygonia sp. (Lep.:  Nymphalidae)   Peter Boon


Comma Polygonia sp. (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Peter Boon


Western Meadow Fritillary Boloria epithore (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Peter Boon


Western Meadow Fritillary Boloria epithore (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Peter Boon



   Jochen Moehr writes:  I continue to enjoy the drive up to our new Metchosin property.  I always encounter up to four Papilios and some Pieris rapae.  Today I saw my first Lorquin’s Admiral of the year.  And I was able to take pictures of this Papilio eurymedon. 


Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Jochen Moehr.






June 24

2016 June 24


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Yesterday, June 23, about 4 pm, I went to Government House on Rockland Street. The usual hotspot is a lawn in an opening in the Douglas firs due east of the big main house.  I was enthralled to see a constant flurry of Western Tiger Swallowtails chasing around the clearing with up to six dancing together up to the treetops. I estimated 15 individuals circulating around the area. I watched them for 20 minutes or more admiring their constant motion and numbers.


   Also there were one each of Pale Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Red Admiral and Lorquin’s Admiral.  At the herb garden west of the big house, there was an Anise Swallowtail and a Lorquin’s Admiral, and six other Cabbage White butterflies around the grounds.


   The swallowtail show is really worth a visit!


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  The tiger swallowtails were putting on a good show, too, on Mount Tolmie last night.  I’m sure the scientists will differ, but I got the strong impression that they were cavorting around and chasing each other for the pure joy of it.



Swallowtails Papilio (Lep.: Papilionidae) Aziza Cooper


Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon (Lep.: Papilionidae) Aziza Cooper



   Jeremy Tatum writes: The moth below emerged today from a cocoon formed by a caterpillar found last year on Douglas Fir in East Sooke Park.

 Panthea virginarius (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


June 23

2017 June 23


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I just discovered that the June 18 – 22 postings all had the wrong dates; they were all advanced by one day.  I have now corrected these.


   Jochen Moehr writes from Metchosin:  My confidence in our new place being blessed with biodiversity continues to increase.  This morning, driving up there around 8:30 a.m., I encountered four different Papilio individuals while driving along Lindholm Road.  I always see at least one or two.  We also always have mud puddling Papilios on the newly seeded slope, which we are irrigating.  Today, finally, I was able to get a picture of one of them, which I attach. 


Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Jochen Moehr


   Rosemary Jorna writes:  Things come in pairs at Jordan River. We were on the beach there last night (June 21) watching the sun go down and saluting it with friends and wine. When I went to wash the glasses this morning I found two young slugs had come home with us, each sleeping it off in a separate wine glass. They now reside on our property as I did not realize we would be back in Jordan River today.   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I am fairly ignorant about slugs, but to me this one looks rather like the introduced European Lehmannia valentiana.   Hint for slug and snail photographers:  It is best if you can do exactly what Rosemary has done – i.e. photograph the animal from the right hand side so that we can see the pneumostome, which I think is always on the right.  The exact position of the pneumostome on the mantle helps enormously with the identification.  If you are not sure what the pneumostome is, have a guess, and you’ll almost certainly be right!


Lehmannia valentina (Pul.: Limacidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   Aziza Cooper sends a photograph of a bee on a daisy at Goldstream Park, June 21. Trouble is, we have so many insects here that it is not always possible to identify every one accurately even from a good photograph. This one is probably either a halictid or an andrenid, and it may be safest to leave it at that.


Bee – not sure which one!  (Hymenoptera)  Aziza Cooper


   Peter Boon writes:  I took a stroll around the Nanaimo River estuary today.  It was quite windy but I found my first-of-year Purplish Copper. I then went out to the roadside verges of Nanaimo River Road. The Dogbane was in flower but butterflies were few and far between. In a couple of hours there I found at least 3 Pale Tiger Swallowtails, 2 Western Tiger Swallowtails, 1 Cedar Hairstreak, 1 first-of-year Lorquin’s Admiral, 1 White (probably Margined) and 1 first-of-year Clodius Parnassian.


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I saw my first-of-year Lorquin’s Admirals today – about three of them near the Mount Tolmie Reservoir at 4:30 pm.


   More pics in the queue – awaiting identification.

June 22

2017 June 22


   Val George sends a photograph of a Purplish Copper from Island View Beach, June 22.



Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Val George


   Nathan Fisk reports 5 Lorquin’s Admirals and 4 swallowtails at the first parking lot at Saxe Point Park.  He sends a photograph of one of the admirals.




Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Nathan Fisk


   Louis Beaudoin photographed the spectacular caterpillar below at Lantzville a few days ago.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  At first I had no idea what it was, but I am now fully convinced that it is an unusual colour variety of Hyles lineata, the White-lined Hawkmoth.  More typical colours are seen on the postings for 2014 August 29 and September 1, though Barb McGrenere photographed one more like this on the 2015 June 24 posting.   Thanks to Louis, and to Scott Gilmore for passing the photograph on to us.



White-lined Hawkmoth Hyles lineata (Lep.: Sphingidae)  Louis Beaudoin

June 21

2017 June 21


   Aziza Cooper sends photographs of an Essex Skipper from Panama Flats, and a worn but still recognizable Cedar Hairstreak and an Eight-spotted Skimmer from Goldstream, June 21.  Also present there, she writes, were 3 Pale Tiger and 2 Western Tiger Swallowtails, and a Lorquin’s Admiral.   It’s good to see the underside of the antennae of an Essex Skipper.  The undersides of the antennae of an Essex Skipper are black, as in Aziza’s photograph.  They are yellow in the otherwise similar Small Skipper, which has not yet been recorded in North America.  But if the Essex can make it here, why not also the Small?


Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola (Lep.: Hesperiidae) Aziza Cooper



Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper


Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis (Odo.: Libellulidae) Aziza Cooper