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.

October 22

2017 October 22


   Here is Gordon Hart’s report of the September VNHS Butterfly Count.

There were 19 reports from 21 locations by 11 observers for the last 2017 butterfly count from September 16-23. Those numbers were similar to 2016, but the number of butterflies counted was exactly double 2016: 246 this year vs 123 last year. Last year only two species were found. This year, there were seven species, including 28 Painted Ladies. Cabbage Whites were also more common with 205 counted this year, 83 more than last year. I plan to submit a summary of all the 2017 counts in the January issue of The Victoria Naturalist while we wait for the next butterfly season. Thanks again to all the participants!

Gordon Hart,

Butterfly count coordinator.

————————————————-Sep ’17            Sep ’16            Diff

————————————————–7 sp.                 2 sp.

AniseSwallowtail                                                                                        0

Western Brown Elfin                                                                                0

CabbageButterfly                                       205                  122                 83

CaliforniaTortoiseshell                                                                            0

CedarHairstreak                                                                                         0

Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia)                   2                                           2

European (Essex) Skipper                                                                       0

GreenComma                                                                            1                   0

Grey Hairstreak                                                                       1                  -1

Lorquin’s Admiral                                                                                      0

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell                                                                              0

Moss Elfin                                                                                                      0

Mourning Cloak                                                                                           0

Painted Lady                                                   28                                         28

Pale Swallowtail                                                                                          0

Pine White                                                                                                     0

Propertius Duskywing                                                                              0

Purplish Copper                                               1                                            1

Red Admiral                                                      1                                             1

Sara OrangeTip                                                                                            0

Satyr Comma                                                                                                0

Silvery Blue                                                                                                   0

SpringAzure                                                                                                  0

Two-Banded Grizzled (Checkered) Skipper                                     0                    

West Coast Lady                                                                                          0

Western Pine Elfin                                                                                     0

Western Sulphur                                                                                         0

Orange Sulphur                                                 4                                           4

Western Tiger Swallowtail                                                                       0

Woodland Skipper                                           5                                           5

totals                                                                246                 123              123

Number of observers                                     11                    12

Number of reports                                          19                   22

Number of locations covered                     21                   20




Gordon also reports seeing a Painted Lady and six Cabbage Whites at Ocean Grove, near Esquimalt Lagoon on October 15.


October 21

2017 October 21


   Apologies – I have been out of action for a few days.  Big backlog on my computer, so I hope I don’t inadvertently miss some contributions.  E.g., I think I missed Rosemary Jorna’s spider below some days ago.


Salticus scenicus (Ara.: Salticidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   And also two moths photographed by Jochem Moehr in Metchosin:


Drepanulatrix sp. (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Moehr


Dysstroma citrata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jochen Moehr



   October is the month for Banded Woolly Bears, the caterpillar of the Isabella Moth.   Here is one found near the Red Barn at Tod Flats by Jody Wells.





Banded Woolly Bear Pyrrharctia isabella (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Jody Wells



   Scott Gilmore writes from Upper Lantzville:  I was surprised to find three small weevils inside a red pepper. The peppers had been grown in California and I assume they must be the Pepper Weevil, Anthonomus eugenii.  Jeremy Tatum ponders:  If they were found on Vancouver Island, but were imported from California, are they eligible for posting on Invert Alert?  I took one look at the first charming photo below and immediately decided yes!  You just have to love it.  According to a Web article, the length of the weevil varies from 1.5 to1.8 mm.  (Have a look at a ruler to remind you of how small this is.)



Pepper Weevil Anthonomus eugenii (Col.: Curculionidae)  Scott Gilmore


Pepper Weevil Anthonomus eugenii (Col.: Curculionidae)  Scott Gilmore



Pepper Weevil Anthonomus eugenii (Col.: Curculionidae)  Scott Gilmore



   Aziza Cooper writes:  On October 15 I found two flies at Lochside Trail near the pig farm. They were in a weedy patch diagonally across the trail south of the pig farm. (The pig farm is south of Martindale Road.)  Also on October 15 one moth was along McIntyre Road near McHugh Road, Central Saanich,


  Jeremy Tatum writes.  The first fly is Eristalis tenax.  I think we’ll have to leave the second one as just an unidentified fly, unless anyone has a suggestion.  Because of the yellow colour (which I think is at least partly pollen), I had at first thought of Scathophaga stercoraria, which is common at the pig farm, but it’s the wrong shape and the eyes are too large.  The moth is a rather worn  Noctua pronuba.


Drone Fly Eristalis tenax (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Aziza Cooper


Unidentified fly (Diptera)   Aziza Cooper


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.:  Noctuidae)  Aziza Cooper



   The caterpillar that Barb McGrenere found on September 21 (q.v.) yesterday produced the moth shown below.


Girdler Moth Dargida procinctus (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum




October 16

2017 October 16


   Jeremy Gatten writes:  The nice weather yesterday resulted in a surprising number of dragonfly and butterfly species on the wing today.  The highlight of my day was my first American Lady for BC, which was at Albert Head Lagoon.  Also at Albert Head Lagoon were several Cabbage Whites, a female Common Green Darner and what I believe was a Paddle-tailed Darner.  At Witty’s Lagoon, I had one Cardinal Meadowhawk and a few Autumn Meadowhawks. [The Autumn Meadowhawk is also known as the Yellow-legged Meadowhawk Sympetrum vicinum.] Moving on to Swanwick Road, I had a Painted Lady and a Striped Meadowhawk.  Reasonable numbers of moths around at Hans Helgesen Elementary School, including: Agrochola purpurea (2), Orthosia mys (3), Epirrita autumnata (4), Philedia punctomacularia (1), Tetracis sp. (3, possibly two different species), and Eupithecia unicolor (1).  At my place in Saanichton this evening (October 15), I’ve had: Autographa californica (2), Sunira decipiens (1), Mythimna unipuncta (2), and Eupithecia sp.

October 15

2017 October 15


   Another splendid crop of moths that Jochen Moehr is seeing at his home in Metchosin.


Agrochola purpurea (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Moehr

Plemyria georgii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jopchen Moehr


The third is a species of  Drepanulatrix – a genus which has been providing us with identification problems.  In order of increasing preference, Jeremy Tatum writes, I would identify Jochen’s moth below as one of D. foeminaria, D. secundaria, D. monicaria.  Actually I’m sufficiently sure that it is Drepanulatrix monicaria that that’s how I’m going to label it,


Drepanulatrix monicaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Moehr


At least seven butterfly-ers visited McIntyre reservoir today, and saw several Cabbage Whites, three Orange Sulphurs (at the north end of the reservoir), a Painted Lady (on the west side), and many Autographa californica.   Kirsten Mills saw a Painted Lady at Prospect Lake Golf Course, and another one at the corner or Tillicum Road and Gorge Road.


October 14

2017 October 14


   Nathan Fisk sends an interesting picture of a cell from the nest of a leafcutter bee.  He found three of these cells in the soil at Fort Rodd Hill Nursery. The cell will be provisioned with nectar and pollen, and one egg will be laid inside it.  The bee larva will grow within.  The sides of the cell are constructed from roughly rectangular portions of a leaf, and the ends are constructed from circular portions.  Leafcutter bees are regarded as major pollinators.


Cell from nest of leafcutter bee  (Hym.:  Megachilidae)  Nathan Fisk


   Jochen Moehr sends a photograph of the moth Plemyria georgii  from his home in Metchosin.


Plemyria georgii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Moehr