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 22

2017 May 22


   Mike Yip writes from Nanoose Bay:  Western Tailed Blues are finally flying on Cross Road. Saw one on May 20 along with many Western Spring Azures and three Western Pine Elfins.


Western Tailed Blue Everes amyntula (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Western Pine Elfin Incisalia eryphon (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


   Mike Yip also sends a picture of a pair of beetles that he found under an old log.  Thanks to Charlene Wood for identifying them for us as a species of woodland ground beetle, genus Pterostichus.


Woodland ground beetle Pterostichus sp. (Col.: Carabidae)  Mike Yip


   Val George writes:  My May butterfly count for Mount Douglas and the surrounding area, conducted yesterday, May 21, produced the following:  18 -20 Cabbage Whites, 10 Western Spring Azures, 8 or 9 Painted Ladies, and 1 Anise Swallowtail.

  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Top pf Mount Tolmie, 5:45 pm.  One Painted Lady on the reservoir, and three near the Jeffery Pine.  One Propertius Duskywing near the entrance to the reservoir.  And lots of Cabbage Whites.

  Dar Churcher sends a photograph of a striking syrphid fly, kindly identified for us by Jeff Skevington as Chrysotoxum sp.   Some of these syrphid flies are very striking in appearance and one would imagine they were easy to identify.  But to be certain, dipterists have to see a structure  known as a calypter or squama close to the base of the wing. A close-up lateral shot of a syrphid might be able to reveal this.

Chrysotoxum sp. (Dip.: Syrphidae) Dar Churcher





May 21

2017 May 21


   Ken Vaughan photographed a Swift Forktail at Beaver Lake Pond yesterday.


Swift Forktail Ischnura erratica (Odo.:  Coenagrionidae)  Ken Vaughan


  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Today Bill Savale and I walked along the railway line north of Cowichan Station.  There were a few Margined Whites Pieris marginalis  there, nectaring, as they often do, on Herb Robert.  There was a lot of Nasturtium in the adjacent ditch, and also a lot of Hesperis at the side of the ditch.  I think Nasturtium is probably the favoured larval foodplant, though in the past I have found and successfully reared them on Hesperis.  The butterflies we looked at were completely immaculate white above.  They are often completely white underneath, too, but, in the one we had a good look at, the veins on the underside were boldly marked in grey, looking very like the European Green-veined White Pieris napi.   The immature stages of the two seem to be indistinguishable, and a case could be made for lumping them both under the name Pieris napi.


  The flight of the Margined White is lighter and more floatier than that of the Cabbage White.  Not so light as that of the Pine White, but something in between.


    There were also a few Western Spring Azures there, and I saw my first Satyr Comma of the year.


May 20

2017 May 20


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I spent three hours this afternoon counting butterflies along the Panhandle Trail at Munn Road.  Two dozen or so Western Spring Azures, a few Cabbage Whites and Sara Orangetips, and one each of Moss’s Elfin, Cedar and Grey Hairstreaks, Painted Lady and Propertius Duskywing.  (Also a Barred Owl, Hutton’s and Cassin’s Vireos, and lots of McGillivray’s and other Warblers.)  Among the day-flying geometrid moths, unfortunately I didn’t see any Epirrhoe plebeculata, though I saw a few Mesoleuca gratulata and several Leptostales rubromarginaria.  I watched the latter for a while in case I was lucky to see one ovipositing, but I had to move on and get on with the Butterfly Count.  I’m sure if someone went there with the sole purpose of watching these tiny reddish moths for an hour or so, he or she would sooner or later advance the boundaries of knowledge by finding out what plants they lay their eggs on.


   I visited Mount Tolmie at 6:10 pm.  There was one Painted Lady basking on the reservoir, and a further three cavorting around near the Jeffery Pine.


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today I found a total of at least 8 Silvery Blues amongst the lupines at their usual spot at the Island Highway’s Colwood exit, right next to the Galloping Goose Trail.


   Judy Spearing sends a photograph of a caterpillar of the Silver-spotted Tiger Moth on the Ocean Spray in her garden (Bow Park area).  The usual foodplant is Douglas Fir, but they are by no means restricted to that plant, as recent photographs sent to this site have shown:  Today, Ocean Spray. May 16, Western Red Cedar.  May 7, Thimbleberry.


Silver-spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa argentata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)

Judith Spearing

May 19

2017 May 19


From Gordon Hart


Hello Butterfly Counters,

The May count runs nine days from the third Saturday, May 20, to the fourth Sunday, May 28. You can submit a count anytime over this period, and you can do more than one count, just use a separate form for each count. In the case of repeat counts, or more than one person counting an area, I will take the highest count for each species.

Please use the form at on the Victoria Natural History Society website .

The count area is the same as the Christmas Bird Count circle (attached). For butterfly identification there are numerous internet sites, but most or all Victoria species are listed on E-Fauna. If you select by photographer, all the photos under James Miskelly’s name are of Victoria species. Here is the link:,%20james&specrep=0


If you would like a suggestion for an area to count, please send me an email. The weather is finally looking much better this month, so we can hope for a good count.

In addition to the counts, a monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month – the next walk will be on June 4th. We start at the summit of Mount Tolmie at 1pm, and decide where to go from there. I will send out another reminder that week.

Thank-you for submitting your sightings and happy counting!


Gordon Hart

Butterfly Count Coordinator

Victoria Natural History Society


Count circle map link:





Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today, May 19, I saw my first Cedar Hairstreak of the year at the corner of Obed Avenue. and Wascana Street.  This is in the Gorge community.


Jeremy Tatum writes:  One Painted Lady near the Mount Tolmie Jeffery Pine at 4:00 pm today, but nothing on the reservoir.  Warm and sunny afternoon – but is it too late for that now?


Dar Churcher sends a photograph of a Zebra Spider with a hapless mayfly, Colwood, April 19.  And Mik Yip sends a photograph of a caddisfly from Nanoose Bay, May 17. We have had only a very few representatives from these Orders (Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera) so far on this site.


Salticus scenicus (Ara.: Salticidae) and Callibaetis ferrugineus (Eph.: Baetidae)

Dar Churcher

Caddisfly Limnephilus fagus (Tri.: Limnephilidae) Mike Yip


Val George sends a photograph of his first (and Invert Alert’s) Ringlet (Large Heath) of the season, Island View Beach, May 19.


Coenonympha tullia (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)  Val George




May 18

2017 May 18


   The picture below was sent to the RBCM by Tara Zajac.  It is a slightly unusual colour variety of the Winter Moth


European Winter Moth Operophtera brumata (Lep.: Geometridae)

Tara Zajac