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.

August 16

2015 August 16


   [Actually posted on the morning August 17, although all the contributions came on August 16.]


    Jeremy Tatum writes:  The flowers of Wild Carrot (“Queen Anne’s Lace”) at Panama Flats just now are attracting a large variety of wasps, bees, flies and beetles, just waiting for someone to come and photograph them.  We may not be able to identify them all, but we can try.  We can manage most butterflies and macro moths and we have experts who are helping us with dragonflies, flies, beetles, bugs, micro moths, spiders, but we need help with bees, wasps and grasshoppers.  Can anyone help with these?


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  6:30 pm today, Mount Tolmie reservoir:  1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady.  At Panama Flats in the afternoon I saw three nests of the Fall Webworm Hyphantria cunea, all high up near the tops of alder trees.  The largest by far is near Panama Pond.   And at 11:30 pm, just when I was tired and ready to crawl into bed, I saw a large bug climbing on the curtain in my bedroom, so I had to get out the camera and photograph it.


Western Conifer Seed Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis (Hem.: Coreidae) Jeremy Tatum


   Bill Katz writes:  There were several large moths – 2" across – at the school on Haro Road this morning. I think they are Catocala unijuga.  [So do I – that’s a new one on me.  Nice find.  Jeremy]

Catocala unijuga (Erebidae – Catocalinae)  Bill Katz


   Also at the school on Haro Road an American Tissue Moth.


American Tissue Moth Triphosa haesitata (Lep.: Geometridae)

Bill Katz


   Cheryl Hoyle sends pictures from Metchosin of a Woodland Skipper, and third and fifth instars of the caterpillar of the Spotted Tiger Moth.

Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Cheryl Hoyle


Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Cheryl Hoyle


Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Cheryl Hoyle



   Rosemary Jorna sends two pictures of a bee from her garden near Kemp Lake.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Can someone identify it for us?  While it looks not dissimilar to a Honey Bee¸ I am not sure that that is what it is; I think it may be a different species.


Bee (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Bee (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna



   Scott Gilmore writes from Upper Lantzville:  Last night I found a new moth for me at our light. A Wavy-lined Emerald Moth (Synchlora aerata).


   I had seen a spot on the back of our house where there had clearly been a slug climbing. Last night I found out what was actually happening. I have read about this before but it was great to actually see it. I don’t know much about slugs but I think this is Limax maximus  [Jeremy Tatum responds:  What a fantastic photograph!  Yes, I had read about this, but never seen it, and I believe it is Limax maximus, variously known as the Giant Garden Slug, or the Great Grey Slug.  When mating, they suspend themselves from a thread of mucus and twine around each other.  This is surely one of the most remarkable mating behaviours in nature.]


Synchlora aerata (Lep..: Geometridae)  Scott Gilmore


Limax maximus (Pul.: Limacidae)  Scott Gilmore

August 15


2015 August 15


   Two more photographs from Devon Parker’s recent trip to Juan de Fuca Ridge.


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Devon Parker

Sylvan Hairstreak Satyrium sylvinum (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Devon Parker

   Aziza Cooper writes:  Today, under grey skies, the VHNS trip to Saanichton Spit and Island View Beach found 2 Purplish Coppers, 1 Ringlet, 5 Woodland Skippers and 2 Cabbage Whites. And I thought we wouldn’t see any butterflies!


Jeremy Tatum writes:  The Western Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar that was shown on August 4 has pupated.  Its chrysalis is shown below.


Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.:  Papilionidae)

Jeremy Tatum

   Here are two woolly bear caterpillars, the first from Blenkinsop Lake, the second from Swan Lake, today.


Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Jeremy Tatum

Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Jeremy Tatum




August 14

2015 August 14


   Reminder:  Monthly Butterfly Count period starts tomorrow. See yesterday’s posting for details.


   Jochen Moehr writes from his Metchosin farm:  Yesterday I caught a picture of a Grey Hairstreak. We have just sown a crop of Crimson Clover Trifolium incarnatum, with some mature plants still available from the previous application.  This little butterfly was very interested in them and stayed around for hours. Perhaps our beans are also attractive to him.


Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Jochen Moehr


Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Jochen Moehr



Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Jochen Moehr



   Rosemary Jorna sends a picture of a little beetle, identified for us by Scott Gilmore as a

Twenty-spotted Ladybeetle.

Twenty-spotted Ladybeetle Psyllobora vigintimaculata (Col.: Coccinellidae)

 Rosemary Jorna


   Gordon Hart writes from Highlands District, August 13:  Today we still had a faded Lorquin’s Admiral, the Grey Hairstreak again, and one or two Cedar Hairstreaks. One seemed quite fresh and one seemed faded, so I think there were two.


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Mount Tolmie, 5:00 p.m. August 13.  One or perhaps up to three

Painted Ladies.


   Rosemary Jorna sends photographs of two flies.  The first, identified by Jeff Skevington, is a syrphid, and the second, identified by Monty Wood, is a tachinid.


Cheilosia sp. (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Graphogaster sp. (Dip.: Tachinidae)  Rosemary Jorna



   Aziza Cooper writes:  On Thursday, August 13, I found one Purplish Copper next to the pump house on the east side of Martindale valley. One photo shows a purple sheen on the forewing.


Male Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.:  Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper



Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.:  Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper


   Devon Parker writes:  August 13 was a great day for butterflies on the San Juan Ridge. 


18 Hydaspe Fritillaries

1 Green Comma

1 Painted Lady

3 Lorquin’s Admirals

1 Sylvan Hairstreak

1 Mylitta Crescent


The Sylvan Hairstreak appears to be the same specimen as last time (see August 3 posting).


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Devon Parker


Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Devon Parker


Both!      Devon Parker



   Gordon Hart sends a picture of an ichneumonid wasp from his Highlands garden.  If anyone can help with the identification, do let us know!


Ichneumonid wasp (Hym.:  Ichneumonidae)  Gordon Hart



August 13

2015 August 13


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Saturday is the beginning of the August Butterfly Count. The count period is from the 3rd Saturday to the 4th Sunday: August 15 to August 23.


The butterflies have been hard to find lately, since the warm weather has caused them to finish their cycles quite early this year. There are a few later butterflies like Purplish Copper, and also some that have two cycles per season, plus possible strays and migrants like the sulfurs we saw last year. Hilltops are still possible locations for butterflies.


Please use the form at to submit your results. Submit a separate form for each area you count, so I can take the higher number in case of double counting.


If you’d like a suggestion about what area to count, send me an email. If you want to be removed from this list or if you know of anyone who would like to be added, please email me.


Thanks for submitting your sightings, and happy counting! 


The monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month. The next walk is on September 6. We meet at Mt Tolmie summit at 1:00pm and decide on our destination from there. The walk will be cancelled if the weather is cool or rainy. Please check the VNHS calendar [and this site!  –  Jeremy] for changes and updates.


Enjoy the butterflies!


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  If the weather is suitable, I am planning to be at the northernmost Island View Beach parking lot at 1:30 pm on Friday August 14, to walk to Cordova Spit to see if I can find the Western Branded Skipper.  Company very welcome.


   Gordon Hart writes:  On Monday, August 10, I also tried to find the Branded Skipper, but had no success from Island View Beach to Cordova Bay Spit (Saanichton Spit). I did see the clouds of Woodland Skippers you mentioned, a couple of Cabbage Whites and several Ringlets/ Large Heaths (C. tullia), and at least one Essex Skipper, photo attached. There were many other insects enjoying the Grindelia (gumweed) flowers. The one attached is a sand wasp   At home today August 12, one Grey Hairstreak appeared briefly amongst many Woodland Skippers and a couple of Cabbage Whites.



Large Heath Coenonympha tullia (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)   Gordon Hart



Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Gordon Hart



Sand wasp Bembix sp. (Hym.:  Crabronidae – Bembicinae)  Gordon Hart



   Jeremy Tatum sends photographs of a clothes moth from his bedroom, and two caterpillars. The first one is Acronicta dactylina, which feeds on alder.  The second is

Nadata gibbosa, which usually feeds on oak, though this one, unusually, was on Amelanchier (Saskatoonberry).  Also from his bedroom – evidently a rich source of invertebrates – a spider, identified by Robb Bennett, who writes: That’s a male gnaphosid; almost certainly Scotophaeus blackwalli. Palaearctic species now widespread in southern Nearctic and Neotropics and apparently continuing to expand its range.  Only fairly recently have we been seeing it around here (records from Victoria area and Salmon Arm).


Tineola bisselliella (Lep.: Tineidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Acronicta dactylina (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Nadata gibbosa (Lep.: Notodontidae)   Jeremy Tatum


Scotophaeus blackwalli (Ara.:  Gnaphosidae)  Jeremy Tatum






August 12

2015 August 12


   The season seems to be drawing rapidly to a close for most butterflies – with the exception of the Woodland Skipper.  There are lots of these around.  Jeremy Tatum noted clouds of them flitting around thistle and burdock flowers at UVic yesterday.  Today Anne Murray writes from Saturna Island (a welcome contribution – we get few reports from there): There are suddenly dozens of these little butterflies around our lavender flowers on Saturna Island. Am I correct in identifying them as Woodland Skippers?  [Yes, you are!  –  Jeremy]  I am trying to attract native butterflies to our garden here. Any suggestions for other good larval/nectar plants would be most helpful. [I’ll try and reply sometime.  In the meantime, Lavender is as good a nectaring flower as any (see postings of July 23 and July 30 for association of this butterfly with Lavender) – though I’ll have some other suggestions later – and the foodplant of the Woodland Skipper caterpillars is grass!  They are probably not all that particular as to species of grass, though I haven’t investigated that at length.]    And Rosemary Jorna sends a photograph of an adult from near Kemp Lake.  The “Woodland” in its English name is merely a translation of its Latin name sylvanoides.  The butterfly can be seen in almost any habitat other than woodland!


Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   Rosemary sends several other photographs of insects and spiders.  We show some of them here. We are still trying to identify some of the others before posting them.  If any viewer can identify those below that are incompletely identified, please do let us know.


Ants (Hym.:  Formicidae) on Tansy       Rosemary Jorna


Bumble bee Bombus sp. (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Bumble bee Bombus sp. (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna



Garden Spider Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Aranaeidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Crab spider Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisiidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying the beetle below.


Megapenthes sp. (Col.: Elateridae)  Rosemary Jorna



   Scott Gilmore sends photographs of a moth caterpillar and two beetles from Upper Lantzville.


American Lappet Moth 

Phyllodesma americana (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)

Scott Gilmore


American Lappet Moth 

Phyllodesma americana (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)

Scott Gilmore


American Lappet Moth 

Phyllodesma americana (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)

Scott Gilmore



Uloma longula (Col,: Tenebrionidae)  Scott Gilmore

Black Vine Weevil  Otiorhynchus sulcatus (Col.: Curculionidae)

Scott Gilmore



   Jeremy Tatum reports a Lorquin’s Admiral today from Bow Park, Saanich.