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.

September 19 evening

2018 September 19 evening


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I went to the Buddleia in the Finnerty Gardens (UVic) this afternoon to see if the Red Admiral that I released yesterday was still there.  I didn’t see it, but on the same bush was a pristine fresh California Tortoiseshell.   Can it be that we are going to have a late-season influx of butterflies as we did last year?   In the last few days, we have had reports of the following nymphalids:  Red Admiral, Lorquin’s Admiral, Painted Lady, American Lady, California Tortoiseshell.  Quite an exciting bunch!

September 19 morning

2018 September 19 morning


   Val George reports an American Lady from Mount Douglas, September 17.  The circumstances of the discovery were somewhat reminiscent of the first of last year’s American Lady sightings.  Val was doing his Monthly Butterfly Count on Mount Douglas.  In addition to 20 Cabbage Whites, Val saw two ladies, one of which was identified with certainty as a Painted Lady. Val photographed the second one under the assumption that it, too, was a Painted Lady, and only later, on examination of the photograph, did he realize that it was an American Lady.


American Lady Vanessa virginiensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George


   Although the American Lady can easily be recognized if you see the underside, it is more tricky from the upperside alone.  Jeremy Tatum writes that there are two features that he uses.



1.         The big white patch is pointed at the bottom.  Rounded or blunt in Painted Lady. (Applies to upperside only.)

2.          Below the big white patch there is a little round white spot.  (The pointy end of the big white patch is pointing to it.)  This is characteristic of the American Lady.

   Ron Flower writes:  On the17th of September, we went to Panama Flats and saw at least 12 Cabbage Whites and 1 Lorquin’s Admiral.


   Nathan Fisk writes that on  September 17 he saw a flyby on Sidney Island that he was pretty confident was a Red Admiral.  Jeremy Tatum writes that on September 18 he saw a flyby at Panama Flats that he thought – with not much confidence! – was also a Red Admiral.  He wasn’t going to mention it until he saw Nathan’s observation. 


   Jochen Möhr reports that there are still Pine Whites fluttering around the tops of the Douglas Firs in Metchosin.


 So – the butterfly season isn’t quite over yet!


  There are moths, too, of course, and Jochen Möhr’s haul from last night included


2 Noctua pronuba,

2 Tetracis pallulata

1 Neoalcis californiaria

1 Xanthorhoe defensaria

1 Euxoa (probably difformis)


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Euxoa (probably difformis) (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


September 18

There was no Invert Alert on September 17.


2018 September 18


   There are still Cabbage Whites to be found.  Jeff Gaskin counted 45 in the Martindale area yesterday, and Kirsten Mills counted 25 at Panama Flats, where there were still several today.  Kirsten also found 10 Woodland Skippers at Panama yesterday.


  The Red Admiral caterpillar (September 1) and pupa (September 8) produced an adult butterfly today, writes Jeremy Tatum.  It emerged from its chrysalis just when I was about to dash off for a doctor’s appointment, so I just had time for a poorish indoor photo of the underside, before I released the butterfly on Buddleia in the Finnerty Gardens, where I had a brief gorgeous view of the upperside.  I just made it to the doctor’s in time.


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta(Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum


More tomorrow…

September 16


2018 September 16


   Ron Flower sends a photograph of an insect from Goldstream.   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I have to say that I was completely floored by it – I could not even guess as to Order.   So I tried Dr Rob Cannings, in the hope that he might possibly be able to suggest the Order.   Rob replied almost immediately, with Order, Family, Genus and Species!     It is a woodwasp, a hymenopteran in the Family Siricidae, related to the sawflies.  Thank you, Rob!


Urocerus californicus (Hym.: Siricidae)    Ron Flower


   Bryan Gates writes:  At least seven of these Lophocampa maculata were on my alders at Saratoga Beach today, after a heavy rain through the night, Sept. 15-16, 2018. My notes show that I photographed one on the same alder on Sept. 8, 2017.


Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Bryan Gates


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  A rainy day today, but during a brief sunny spell I saw a Cabbage White from the window of my Saanich apartment.



September 15

2018 September 15


   Continuing the saga on the Triphosa haesitata / Coryphista meadii  identification problem, Ron Flower sends a picture, from Goldstream Park last week, of one of the forms of Coryphista meadii  that cannot (we hope!) be confused with T. haesitata.  Would that all meadii were of this form!



Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)   Ron Flower






   Val George writes:  A couple of days ago, Sept 12, this Chlorochroa Stink Bug was in my Oak Bay garden.  I suspect it is a “sp.”   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Agreed, but most likely C. uhleri rather than sayi.


Stink Bug Chlorochroa (probably uhleri) (Hem.: Pentatomidae)  Val George


   Jeremy Tatum notes a few Cabbage Whites today at Maber and Martindale Flats.


   Alanah Nasadyk writes:  I found this handsome moth in the spikemoss going up towards Sugarloaf Mountain in the Sooke Hills.  Libby Avis kindly identified it for us as Mesogona olivata, a moth that occurs in dry Garry Oak type habitat, Garry Oak being one of the larval foodplants.


Mesogona olivata (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Alanah Nasadyk