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.

May 10

2021 May 10


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  We showed eggs and young caterpillars of the Eglantine Sheep Moth on April 4, 5, 18, 22.  Here is one of the caterpillars grown a little more.  It is not nearly full grown yet.


Eglantine Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Val George writes:  Spring has really sprung.  This morning, May 10, whilst birding along the power line crossing Prospect Lake Road, I saw an abundance of butterflies:  Many (two to three dozen) Western Spring Azures, two Sara Orangetips, one Cabbage White, one Propertius Duskywing, one Satyr Comma, and one Western Tiger Swallowtail.


Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Val George


Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George


May 9

2021 May 9


   Sid and Rosemary Jorna have been photographing spiders in their Kemp Lake property – and Dr Robb  Bennett has identified them for us.  Of the first one, Dr Bennett writes:  This is the introduced species Dysdera crocata, which the British call the slater slayer because of its taste for woodlice. 


Dysdera crocata (Ara.:  Dysderidae)  Sid Jorna



Philodromus rufus (Ara.: Philodromidae)  Rosemary Jorna



  Jochen Möhr writes that he had no moths at all at his home in Metchosin this morning, but he had a pretty Buprestis aurulenta.


Buprestis aurulenta (Col.: Buprestidae)  Jochen Möhr


   Jeremy Tatum supposes that the Stinging Nettle developed its stings to discourage animals feeding on it.  If so, it wasn’t entirely successful, for there are many butterfly and moth caterpillars, as well as small beetles, that feed on nettles.  Here is a caterpillar that I found on Stinging Nettle earlier this year, near Blenkinsop Lake.  Its translucent appearance suggested to me that it might be a crambid.


Udea profundalis (Lep.: Crambidae)   Jeremy Tatum


   The adult moth emerged today, and I released it near where the caterpillar was found

Udea profundalis (Lep.: Crambidae)   Jeremy Tatum


   Here is another ordinary-looking green nettle-eating caterpillar.  It could be any of dozens of species, and is doubless impossible to identify.  But wait!  The caterpillar is far from ordinary. What special feature is apparent on this caterpillar that tells us that it is a species of Hypena?   It case you don’t spot it, I’ll post the answer in a few days.


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






May 8

2021 May 8


   Jochen Möhr sends a photograph of a moth from Metchosin, May 7:


Litholomia napaea (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jochen Möhr

   Rosemary Jorna sends one from Playfair Park, Victoria.  This one proved a bit tricky, but Libby Avis and Jeremy Gatten both agree upon Annaphila decia – a first for this site.

 Annaphila decia (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Rosemary Jorna



Elisabeth Ruiter found this caterpillar munching in her apple tree in Cowichan:

Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Elisabeth Ruiter



Jochen reports a rather worn Smerinthus ophthalmica  from Metchosin:


Smerinthus ophthalmica (Lep.: Sphingidae)


May 6

2021 May 6


   Rosemary Jorna, Kemp Lake, sends a photograph of a spider.  Dr Robb Bennett writes:  It’s an amaurobiid, almost certainly Callobius pictus. The relatively light coloration and the blocky light abdominal marks are usually sufficient to identify this species in our area. The other local candidate, Callobius severus, is very much darker and hairier. Both are common Vancouver Island species, especially in Douglas-fir woodlands.


Callobius pictus (Ara.: Amaurobiidae)  Rosemary Jochen


  Yesterday, writes Jeremy Tatum, we showed a photograph of a butterfly, and I wrote that it was difficult to identify because I could see only the upperside.  Today we have a photograph of a moth, and I write that it is difficult to identify because I can see only the underside.  By this time, viewers will be thinking:  My!  –  Some folks are hard to please !   Well, fortunately Jochen Möhr saw the upperside before he photographed the moth in Metchosin, and saw that it is Xanthorhoe defensaria.


Xanthorhoe defensaria  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr



    Jochen also sends a photograph of a pug (Eupithecia sp.)   Pugs can be hard to identify, writes Jeremy Tatum, and I have a bad habit of calling any that look a bit like this one E. annulata.  I’ll resist the habit and label this one “sp.”


Eupithecia sp. (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

May 5

2021 May 5


   Bruce Whittington sends a photograph of a blue from his Ladysmith garden yesterday.  Since it shows only the upperside, writes Jeremy Tatum, identification was a bit of a challenge, so I am grateful to Mike Yip for examining it critically and confirming Bruce’s suspicion and mine that it is a male Western Spring Azure.


Male Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)


   A few dargonflies and damselflies have been seen in the past few days.  Wendy Ansell writes that she saw her first dragonfly of the season yesterday at Durrance Lake.   She got a few quick snaps of it, not, she feels good enough for posting, but good enough for the first identified dragonfly reported this year.   It was an American Emerald Cordulia shurtleffii.


    Rosemary Jorna photographed two snails in her yard near Kemp Lake today:


Monadenia fidelis (Pul.: Bradybaenidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Vespericola columbianus (Pul.: Polygyridae)  Rosemary Jorna