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.

2023 September 20

2023 September 20

Aziza Cooper sends pictures of a spider from Government House on September 16, and a moth and a dragonfly from Swan Lake on September 17.

Araneus diadematus  (Ara.: Araneidae)   Aziza Cooper

Neoalcis californiaria  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Aziza Cooper

Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis  (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Aziza Cooper

2023 September 19

2023 September 19

   We are nearing the end of summer – but there are still a few nice moths around.   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I have been asked more than once how to tell whether a moth is a geometrid or a noctuid.  One possible answer, which works most (not all!) of the time, is that geometrids are landscape, while noctuids are portrait.  This is illustrated by these two moths that I photographed today. The first was at my Saanich apartment.  The second was from a caterpillar found on Gumweed at Island View Beach.


Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae)    Jeremy Tatum


Heliothis phloxiphaga (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Also seen (but not photographed) yesterday, at Swan Lake Nature House, was a Common Emerald Moth.

Val George photographed the moth shown below at his Oak Bay house today.  This is a puzzler.  It is obviously one of the difficult pair Triphosa haesitata / Coryphista meadii  – but which one?!!!  Libby Avis and Jeremy Tatum – after careful examination – agree that it is Coryphista meadii:  1.  Conspicuous dark discal spot.  2.  Fourth tooth on outer margin of hind wing short.  3.  Slightly falcate wingtips.

Libby tells me of another complication:  Coryphista meadii  has had a name change – it is now Rheumaptera meadii.  For consistency with earlier photographs of the species within this site, I label it here with its old name.

Coryphista meadii  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Val George


Jeremy Tatum writes:  I have seen several Banded Woolly Bears recently.  October is their peak month.  They are often abundant at Panama Flats.


2023 September 18

2023 September 18

Marie O’Shaughnessy photographed the colourful bee below in the Martindale Valley on September 14.

Agapostemon virescens (Hym.: Halictidae) Marie O’Shaughnessy


Kirsten Mills and Jeff Gaskin found this damselfly on the Metchosin Golf Course, Pears Road, on September 14.  Nearly all of the damselfly photographs that have appeared on this site have been of the Family Coenagrionidae, so it is good to see a different Family represented.  This is a Spreadwing  of the Family Lestidae – you can see why they are called spreadwings.   Dr Rob Cannings writes that it is a male — and almost certainly Lestes disjunctusFor absolute certainty he would need to see a dorsal view showing the exact shape of the paraprocts – but other aspects (e.g., thorax pattern) indicate L. disjunctus.

Northern Spreadwing  Lestes disjunctus  (Odo.: Lestidae)  Kirsten Mills

2023 September 17

2023 September 17

There was no Invertebrate Alert for September 16.

Cheryl Hoyle sends these photographs of an unfamiliar insect from View Royal, September 16.  At first glance both Cheryl and Jeremy Tatum thought that it was a whitefly (Hem.: Aleyrodidae), but had doubts on a closer look.  In particular, see how it holds its wings – rooflike like a lacewing rather than flat like a whitefly.  There are other indications, but it is in fact related to the lacewings, and is in the Order Neuroptera, Family Coniopterygidae, dustywings.  Is the similarity of two insect Families from different Orders an example of convergent evolution?

Dustywing (Neu.: Coniopterygidae)  Cheryl Hoyle

Dustywing (Neu.: Coniopterygidae)  Cheryl Hoyle


Kirsten Mills writes:

Jeff Gaskin and I spent a full day counting butterflies on the first day of the butterfly count, September 16. We had a grand total of 53 Cabbage Whites. At Goldstream Park there were 2 Mourning Cloaks and 1 Lorquin’s Admiral. Another Lorquin’s Admiral was seen along Finlayson Arm Road. At the end of Anchorage Avenue, a Red Admiral was in some blackberry brambles, and a Painted Lady was by Royal Bay.

Dragonflies seen at Goldstream Park included several Paddle-tailed Darners as well as 3 Shadow Darners and what we think was a Pacific Spiketail. By the Metchosin Golf Course on Pears Road, we saw 3 Cardinal Meadowhawks and one each of Striped and Variegated Meadowhawk and Blue-eyed Darner and a Northern Spreadwing.

Lorquin’s Admiral  Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Kirsten Mills

Variegated Meadowhawk  Sympetrum corruptum (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Kirsten Mills

Cardinal Meadowhawk Sympetrum illotum  (Odo.: Libellulidae)
Kirsten Mills


2023 September 15

2023 September 15

Hello, Butterfly Watchers,

The September count period starts Saturday September 16 until Sunday September 24. This is an informal census of butterfly numbers and species in Greater Victoria. The area is defined by the Christmas Bird Count circle, extending from Victoria to Brentwood Bay and Island View Road in Central Saanich, and west to Happy Valley and Triangle Mountain, and Langford Lake and Goldstream areas.

You can submit a count any time over the count period, just use a separate form for each count and location. In the case of repeat or duplicate counts, I will use the higher numbers. To submit counts, please use the form from the VNHS website at

If you have difficulty with the form, just send me an email with the information.

Thank-you for submitting your sightings and good luck with your count.

Gordon Hart
Butterfly Count Coordinator,
Victoria Natural History Society


As if to reinforce Marie O’Shaughnessy’s comment (September 13) that this has been a good season for Variegated Meadowhawk, Aziza Cooper saw and photographed one at Beachey Head on September 14.  Also there, she writes, was a Pine White, and two more Pine Whites at Aylard Farm.

Variegated Meadowhawk  Sympetrum corruptum  (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Aziza Cooper


Marie has been photographing some small creatures at Outerbridge Park in the last few days:

Banasa dimiata (Hem.: Pentatomidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy

We thank Dr Philip Bragg for the identification of the harvestman:

Male Phalangium opilio (Opiliones:  Phalangiidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy


Blue-green Sharpshooter Hordnia atropunctata (Hem.: Cicadellidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy

Udea profundalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy

  We have not yet, unfortunately, been able to identify the following two creatures.  If anyone can help with the identifications, please do get in touch with us. The first is probably a pentatomid bug, but is an immature nymph, which makes identification difficult.

Pentatomid nymph (Hem.: Pentatomidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy

Jeremy Tatum writes:  I really have little idea what the fly below is, except that it might just possibly be of the Family Xylophagidae (genus possibly Dialysis?), but that is by no means certain.

Unidentified fly (Diptera)  Marie O’Shaughnessy