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.

July 5 afternoon

2019 July 5 afternoon


Gordon Hart writes:


Hello Butterfly Watchers,
This is a reminder for the July Butterfly Walk to take place on Sunday, July 7, at 1 p.m . We meet near the Mount Tolmie summit by the reservoir parking lot. After a look around the summit area, we will decide on a destination from there. 

For details and updates, see the VNHS calendar:

See you on Sunday,



Gordon Hart,

Victoria Natural History Society



   Jeremy Tatum shows a picture of a Painted Lady caterpillar preparing to pupate:


Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Just three hours after the above photograph was taken, the caterpillar had pupated, and the chrysalis looked like this:


Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   In another two hours or so the chrysalis will develop a shiny gold (Greek chrysos = gold) colour.


  Judith Sales has given me two moth pupae that she found while raking the detritus under a Garry Oak in her Cedar Hill Road garden.  The larger, black one is certainly Catocala aholibah.  The other one seems slightly smaller, slightly slimmer, and a slightly different colour.  However, I can’t think what else it might be, and I believe it is another C. aholibah.  I’ll have to wait until the moths eclode (new fancy word for emerge) but I suspect that the bigger, stouter, black one will turn out to be a female, and the smaller, slimmer, brown one will turn out to be a male of the same species, Catocala aholibah. See also the account of Udea turmalis below.


Catocala aholibah
(Lep.: Erebidae – Erebinae)  Jeremy Tatum

   “Aholibah” is an unusual name. The second syllable is stressed. You will find reference to the name in one of the naughtier parts of the Holy Bible (King James Version, Ezekiel Chapter 23):

 23: 1The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:

And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.

And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.


   Jeremy continues, unabashed:  Here is a photograph of another  Udea turmalis.  I think it is rather larger than the one shown on July 3.  There is a size difference between the sexes of many butterflies and moths, the female (who has to carry ova) usually being larger.  Unfortunately I didn’t measure the July 3 one.  Today’s one, shown below, was 19 mm from the tips of the labial palpi to the apex of the forewings.   (If you don’t know what labial palpi are, have a look at the photo; have a guess, and you’ll probably be right.)  These two moths were reared from a dense mass of 11 caterpillars crammed together with masses of frass in the head of an Edible Thistle Cirsium edule.  Sorry the palpi are out of focus – wrong camera setting!


Udea turmalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jeremy Tatum

More tomorrow…