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 4 morning

2020 July 04 morning


   Message from Gordon Hart:


Hello Butterfly Watchers,
We will be having a Butterfly Walk on Sunday, July 5. We will be following the Covid-19 policies approved by the VNHS Board of Directors. They can be found on page 5 of the July August issue of The Naturalist and I have copied them below. 

 We meet at the top of Mount Tolmie by the reservoir, at 1.00 p.m. You can park in the parking lot there, or in the large lot north of the summit. After a look around the summit, and depending on the weather, we will decide on a destination from there. 
See you on Sunday,

Gordon Hart,

Butterfly count coordinator

Victoria Natural History Society


In this “new abnormal environment”, when many events and activities are being cancelled, Dr. Bonnie Henry encourages us to get outside. For VNHS members, the preferred activity is a field trip. Yes, trips are still possible, if they can be done safely according to public health directives and using common sense. 

Following are what we hope will be temporary guidelines for leaders and participants. 

  1. For now, trips are to be limited to 10 participants, including the leader. However, if there are more than 10, the leader has the option of splitting the group. 
  2. Please respect physical distancing, two metres apart, while on trails and in groups. 
  3. Please bring a face mask to be used if physical distancing is not possible. 
  4. Please ensure that your field trip waiver (attached to the membership application and renewal form) is current and signed. As stated on the form, you are attending field trips at your own risk. 
  5. Please do not carpool unless all occupants are from the same household. 
  6. Please bring your own binoculars and/or spotting scopes and avoid sharing them. 
  7. Please stay at home if you are feeling ill, especially if you have any possible COVID-19 symptoms, or even feel unsure about being with a group of people. 
  8. Please respect the trip leader’s right, and obligation, to limit the number of participants in any field trip. The leader also has the right to alter or even cancel a field trip. Please remember that our field trip leaders are volunteers, giving their time and knowledge freely and generously. 
  9. Finally, please check the VNHS website ahead of time to ensure that the trip is still scheduled to take place. 



  Jeremy Tatum shows a moth that emerged today, reared from a caterpillar found last year on Gumweed at Island View Beach, where it was released today:


Cucullia montanae (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   He also shows a chrysalis formed today from a caterpillar found on Stinging Nettle at Lochside Drive:


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


   Jochen Möhr shows two moths from his Metchosin home this morning:

Pyrausta perrubralis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr

Stenoporpia excelsaria (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr

July 3

2020 July 3


   There was no Invert Alert Yesterday.  I was beginning to fear there were no invertebrates, either, but a pretty little micro moth turned up at Jochen Möhr’s house in Metchosin:


Pyrausta perrubralis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr

   Jochen’s moths from Metchosin this morning:


2 Callizzia amorata,

1 Evergestis funalis 

3 Hesperumia latipennis

2 Iridopsis emasculatum

1 Xanthorhoe defensaria

1 Idea dimidiata



Idaea dimidiata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Hesperumia latipennis (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Evergestis funalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr

Iridopsis emasculatum (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


July 1

2020 July 1


   This may be Canada Day, but it also seems to be Crab Spider Day, for two separate observers have sent a bunch of photos of Misumena vatia.  This spider lurks in flowers and often takes on the colour of the flower within which it lurks, as in this photograph of one on an Ox-eye Daisy:


Misumena vatia  (Ara.: Thomisidae)  Mr E


   The next one, on Lavender, doesn’t seem to have had much success with any attempt at cryptic coloration.


Misumena vatia  (Ara.: Thomisidae) Richard Rycraft


   The next one is also white on a purple flower – except that it does closely resemble the white central part of the Harvest Brodiaea flower, enough to deceive a very substantial prey.


Misumena vatia  (Ara.: Thomisidae)  Mr E


   I recognized the next spider as a crab spider, but I didn’t think it was M. vatia (writes Jeremy Tatum) until Dr Robb Bennett told me that it is indeed M. vatia – but a male rather than the more familiar female.   Its first pair of legs are remarkably long (part of the left front leg is hidden by a petal).  The spider is missing its second leg on the right hand side.


Male Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisidae)  Mr E



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  On June 29 I saw a Pale Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on the Philadelphus bush at the entrance to the Mount Tolmie reservoir – noteworthy only because it was the first one I had seen this year.  On June 30 I saw a Satyr Comma along the Lochside Trail between Lohbrunner’s and Blenkinsop Lake;  I also found another Red Admiral caterpillar on the nettles there.  Today I noticed that the Painted Lady pupa, which was shown on June 24 morning, was showing a lot of colour – next photograph:


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


  After a few hours I noted that the butterfly within was becoming separated from the pupal shell as described by Jochen Möhr in the movie he made last year of the emergence of a Painted Lady butterfly from its chrysalis. This appearance shows that eclosion (emergence) is imminent.  [Biologists please note:  The noun is eclosion;  the verb is eclode.]  Jochen’s movie can be seen in the entry for 2020 January 1 (currently on page 35).  I waited patiently with my camera at the ready.  Then I went to unload my laundry from the washer and put it in the dryer, a process that took three minutes max. When I came back:


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


   I didn’t manage to photograph the upperside.  I put the butterfly on the thistles just down the road from the Jeffery Pine on Mount Tolmie, so if you see a pristine fresh Painted Lady there, that’ll be it.


   Here’s a young caterpillar of a Western Tiger Swallowtail:


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



   Here’s a long-horned beetle photographed by Mr E, and kindly identified by Scott Gilmore as Lepturopsis dolorosa:


Lepturopsis dolorosa (Col.:  Cerambycidae)  Mr E



   Mark Wynja writes:  On the afternoon of Sunday June 28th Mike Yip and I found a Roadside Skipper and a Dun Skipper.  Area accessed by NW Bay Logging Road in Nanoose. Follow the signs to Rhododendron Lake;  they were 300 m past the 5 km sign on that road.  These logging roads are open until further notice on weekends from 8am to 6pm.


Roadside Skipper Amblyscirtes vialis (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mark Wynja


   Here’s a caterpillar found on Ninebark at Swan Lake today:



Egira crucialis (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum

June 30

2020 June 30


   Rosemary Jorna sends photographs of a Clodius Parnassian taken by Kate Woods on Matterhorn, Shirley, June 29.


Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Kate Woods


Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Kate Woods


   Rosemary Jorna photographed a beetle on the Matterhorn, Shirley, June 29.  The beetle had better be careful  –  I think I see a crab spider just beneath it.


Lepturobosca chrysocoma (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Annie Pang is not the only person to have a wasp nest at her home.  I had one on my balcony at the same time.  But, instead of their making a large external paper nest as Annie’s wasps did (see June 21), mine were in a hole in the structure of the building; this was rather vulgar of them.   My Strata Council called in the exterminator, and the only photographs I was able to get were of one that had been exterminated, which enabled Claudia Copley to identify it as Vespula vulgaris.   As I said, rather vulgar.


Vespula vulgaris  (Hym.: Vespidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Vespula vulgaris  (Hym.: Vespidae)  Jeremy Tatum


  On June 28 we showed a photograph of a ladybird beetle from Mr E which we were not confident in naming.  Today we show a ladybird beetle photographed on Matterhorn, Shirley, by Rosemary Jorna on June 29.  Although it looks somewhat like Mr E’s June 28 beetle, this time Scott Gilmore feels confident in labelling it as Coccinella trifasciata, and I agree (Jeremy Tatum).  Although the first of the three fascia is broken, the jutting black rectangle on the pronotum is quite distinctive, and also the fascia are outlined in yellow.


Coccinella trifasciata (Col.: Coccinellidae) Rosemary Jorna

June 29 afternoon

2020 June 29 afternoon


   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of a Red Admiral caterpillar:


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


   Question:  Is a slime mould an invertebrate in the sense used in this site, and hence is a photograph of one eligible for inclusion?  A good lawyer could argue either way  (they are not plants, they are not fungi, they don’t have a backbone), but in any case I think viewers will agree that Mr E’s photographs of one are too interesting to waste away unseen by anyone.


Wolf’s Milk Slime Lycogala epidendrum (Liceales: Tubiferaceae)  Mr E



Wolf’s Milk Slime Lycogala epidendrum (Liceales: Tubiferaceae)  Mr E



Wolf’s Milk Slime Lycogala epidendrum (Liceales: Tubiferaceae)  Mr E