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.

June 7

2015 June 7


   Sorry I’m posting today’s Invert Alert so early in the day  –  I’m, just off to the monthly Butterfly Walk – at Duncan!



   Ken Vaughan writes:  Had a nice walk around Beaver Lake Ponds on June 4, with two first-of-year-for-me odes.


Cardinal Meadowhawk Sympetrum illotum (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Ken Vaughan






Male Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis (Odo.:  Libellulidae)  Ken Vaughan

 Ellychnia sp. (Col.: Lampyridae)  Ken Vaughan


Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Ken Vaughan


Dot-tailed Whiteface Leucorrhinia intacta (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Ken Vaughan




   …and it looks as though Gordon Hart is seeing the same animals!  He sends the following:



Dot-tailed Whiteface Leucorrhinia intacta (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Gordon Hart



Yellow Crab Spider Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisiidae) Gordon Hart




   Annie Pang sends a Western Tiger Swallowtail in its typical pose nectaring on Himalayan Blackberry, just like Ken’s Pale Tiger above.



Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Annie Pang



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  On May 17 I posted a photograph of a caterpillar, which I labelled Enargia infumata.  The adult moth from this caterpillar emerged two days ago and it looks as though it might be a different species.  The three (or more?) Enargia species that we have in British Columbia pose an identification problem, and we are working to try to get a certain identification on this one, but for the time being I believe it is most likely Enargia decolor.



Enargia sp. (probably decolor)  (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum






June 6

2015 June 6


       Reminder – Monthly Butterfly walk tomorrow (Sunday).  Meet at the highway pulloff at Somenos Lake north of Duncan at 1:00 pm.  For further details, scroll down to the June 4 posting.



    Rosemary Jorna gave us a puzzler when she sent us a photograph of a curious insect that she spotted when she was on her way to Empress Mountain on June 1.  Thanks to Scott Gilmore who identified it as a jumping bristletail, a member of the little-known (little-known to me – Jeremy Tatum – that is!) Order Microcoryphia.   It’s a new Order for this site.


Jumping bristletail (Microcoryphia)  Rosemary Jorna



   She also sent us a picture of a young female Ladona julia (formerly Libellula julia) from Grassy Lake, June 1. Thanks to Rob Cannings for the identification.



Female Ladona julia . (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Rosemary Jorna



   Jeremy Tatum sends a picture of a tortricid identified by Eric LaGasa as a male

Choristoneura rosaceana.  Eric has been educating me on the importance of a costal fold near the basal end of the costa on male tortricids as an aid to identification.  The costal fold can be seen on this one (just!), showing that it is a male.


Choristoneura rosaceana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Scott Gilmore writes from Upper Lantzville:  Here are some of the sightings I had over the (May 30-31) weekend. Thanks to V. Belov for getting the featherwing beetle to genus.


Dichelotarsus melvillei (Col.:  Cantharidae) 

Prothalpia holmbergi (Col.:  Melandryidae) A new-to-me family called False Darkling Beetles

Thyanta pallidovirens (Hem.:  Pentatomoidea). A red-shouldered stinkbug

Ptenidium (Col.:  Ptilidae). Another featherwing beetle that flew past my nose in the backyard (about the only way I was going to see it!). I do not have an accurate measurement but it is a little under 1mm long.


Dichelotarsus melvillei (Col.:  Cantharidae)  Scott Gilmore


Prothalpia holmbergi (Col.:  Melandryidae) Scott Gilmore



Thyanta pallidovirens (Hem.:  Pentatomoidea)  Scott Gilmore



Ptenidium sp. (Col.:  Ptilidae).Scott Gilmore






    Many more pics tomorrow!  We still have a nice backlog!


June 5

2015 June 5


    Please scroll down to June 4 to see three important announcements concerning forthcoming field trips – including Sunday’s (June 7) trip to Duncan.


   We still have a healthy queue of photos and observations to post, and they’ll be spread out over a few days.  I’m using today’s posting to catch up on more of the interesting creatures found by Mike Yip and Aziza Cooper on their recent trip to Mount Cokely.


Persius Duskywing Erynnis persius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip

Arctic Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip


Boisduval’s Blue Icaricia icarioides  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Boisduval’s Blue Icaricia icarioides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper

 Female Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper



Hoary (“Zephyr”) Comma Polygonia gracilis zephyrus   (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip


Western Tailed Blue Everes amyntula  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  MikeYip



Western Tailed Blue  Everes amyntula  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Aziza Cooper



Hudsonian Whiteface Leucorrhina hudsonica (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Mike Yip

(Thanks to Terry Thormin for identifying this one.)


Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisiidae) and Sericomyia chalcopyga (Dip. Syrphidae) Mike Yip

(Thanks to Jeff Skevington for identifying the fly.)


Buprestis aurulenta (Col.: Buprestidae)  Aziza Cooper








June 4

2015 June 4, 2015









I would like to change the destination and the date of the projected trip to Mount Cokely.The new plan is to go to Mt Washington instead, and to change the date to June 20 instead of June 13, and the departure time to 8:00 am instead of 9:00 am.  As usual with butterflies, this trip is weather-dependent and needs sunshine to proceed.


Change of date is because June 13 was chosen to suit Mike Yip’s schedule, and it’s no longer essential that he guides us if we go to Mount Washington. June 13 is the date of this year’s Metchosin BioBlitz, which I hope we will support.


The butterflies are excellent on Mount Washington, the distance is about the same, and the driving and parking are much better. The dirt road to Mount Cokely is narrow, steep and winding. It is unsuited to a multi-vehicle expedition. Dirt bikes, ATV’s and other recreational traffic kick up dust and sometimes pass at high speeds. Fire closures are already in effect for the logging areas of the east Island, and the Mt Cokely road may be affected by next week.


Butterfly areas at Mount Washington are near the base of the chairlift and the trails beginning from the lodge. The chair lift will be operating (weekends only in June), and we may go up to look for the high elevation butterflies: Great Arctic, Rocky Mountain Apollo and Arctic Blue. Cost of the chair lift is $17 (Seniors $15). Paradise Meadows is another possible butterfly location. The café and restrooms in the lodge are open all day.


So on Saturday, June 20, we will meet at Helmcken Park and Ride at 8am,(not 9am) or at Mount Washington in front of the lodge at 10:30am.


From Victoria, head north on ROUTE 1 N / TRANS CANADA HWY N. past Nanaimo and take EXIT 130 to Strathcona Parkway which leads to Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Estimated driving time: 2 1/2 hours.


Please reply to me if you are attending, to arrange rides. Riders should share costs of the trip, approximately $15 per person. I’d also like to enquire about a group rate for the chairlift if I know the approximate size of the group.


Don’t forget to bring: butterfly field guides, binoculars, sunscreen, comfortable shoes, water and a snack for the hike.


Sorry for any inconvenience due to the date/location change. I hope to see you all at Mount Washington, if the sun shines!


Aziza Cooper





Hi, Butterfly observers,


This month’s butterfly walk on Sunday, June 7 will be combined with a VNHS birding trip to the Duncan area.


If you’re not joining the birding trip, meet the group at the highway pulloff at Somenos Lake north of Duncan at 1pm.  We will drive to our butterfly area from there. Drive north from the traffic light at Beverly Street. Somenos marsh is on your right and the pulloff and parking area is on your right about halfway to the next light.


Butterfly-watching is weather-dependent. If the weather is not sunny, we’ll continue birding in the area.


The birding trip follows the description in the VNHS calendar:

Duncan Area Butterflies & Birds

WhenSun, 7 June, 07:00 – 16:00

Where119 St Giles St S, Victoria, BC V9B (Helmcken Park and Ride) (map)

DescriptionField Trip (LEVEL 2) For our monthly butterfly outing, we will venture farther afield to the Duncan area this time and combine it with some birding. The morning will mostly be spent birding, starting with an enjoyable walk along the productive Dock Rd and then we will try to find a nearby Red-eyed Vireo plus other warblers, vireos and flycatchers. Bring a lunch and we will spend the afternoon searching for the amazing array of butterflies in this area. It needs to be sunny to make this part worthwhile. Otherwise we’ll continue birding in other areas nearby. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at Helmcken Park & Ride to car-pool or at 7:45 a.m. at Cowichan Bay Dock Road (north of the intersection of Cowichan Bay Road and Tzouhalem Road). Contact Aziza at 250-516-7703 or email Agnes at thelynns at for more information.


Happy butterflying,

Aziza Cooper




Hi, Butterfly enthusiasts,


The Washington (state) Butterfly Association (WBA) is having their annual conference this month, from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28, with an optional field trip on Monday. The cost is very reasonable and the location is extremely attractive: the American Okanogan and renowned butterfly locations nearby.


There will be talks on Friday and Saturday evenings, and dinners (cost not included). Accommodation costs are also not included.


The cost is $90 for members and $45 for non-members. With Canadian exchange, $45 comes to about $57 CAD.


For further information, registration, descriptions of the field trips and information about motels and camping see the website:


Pardon the plug for an out-of-area activity, but the Okanagan butterflies are too good to miss. It’s a popular destination, so reserve your motel rooms as soon as possible.



Aziza Cooper






Jeremy Tatum writes:  We have a big backlog of photos to post, but I’ll leave this posting to the above three notices.  The backlog of photos will probably be spread out over the next few days. But don’t stop sending photos and observations in. It’s all exciting!


June 3

2015 June 3


            Jeremy Tatum writes:  I still have a bit of a backlog, so some submissions won’t get posted immediately, but I should get them done in a day or two.  If I appear to have overlooked any, let me know.


            In the meantime:  Adam Taylor has recovered all the archival Invert Alerts for us.  If you scroll to the very bottom of this file you will find a set of numbers 1 2 3 4 5….  Press the last number (which at the moment is 5).  This will take you back to June 2014, and then at the very bottom again you will find links to all the earlier Invert Alerts going back to March 2010, when the Invert Alerts started.  There is also an Index to pictures there, which is out-of-date at the moment, but we hope soon to update it and keep it updated.  Thank you, Adam!


            On May 24 Aziza Cooper photographed a moth on Trial Island whose identification beat me.  Thanks to Libby Avis for identifying it as Eupithecia cretaceata – one of the largest of the pugs, whose caterpillar feeds on the poisonsous (to us) plant Veratrum viride.


Eupitheca cretaceata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Aziza Cooper


   Annie Pang writes:  I was just blown away at the size of the pollen sacs on these Bombus vosnesenskii females at Gorge Park in Victoria today (June 3rd).  The clover patch is going to seed and I will be very sorry to see it gone, but there are still a number of viable flowers and these ladies are making the most of them.   This Bombus species is quite dominant in the park this year, and yet I really don’t recall ever seeing it prior to this year.


Bombus vosnesenskii (Hym.: Apidae)  Annie Pang


Bombus vosnesenskii (Hym.: Apidae)  Annie Pang


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a caterpillar of the Western Brown Elfin on Salal.  The moth below that emerged today from a pupa dug up in a Victoria garden a few weeks ago.    And then a Western Tiger Swallowtail, recently emerged from its chrysalis.  Photographed indoors, I’m afraid, but the butterfly is now flying happily with others on Mount Tolmie.  I saw (but didn’t photograph) my first Lorquin’s Admiral of the year today, at UVic.

Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)

Jeremy Tatum



Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum

 Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Jeremy Tatum