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 18

2016 June 18


   Gordon Hart writes: This giant sawfly has been in the same area of our Highlands yard for the past couple of weeks. It perches on a leaf for extended periods with short flights ending up back on the same spot. It is a large and heavy-set, at least 30 mm long, and with large pincer jaws. I have attached two photos: one a dorsal view, and one showing the large jaws.


Trichiosoma triangulum (Hym.: Cimbicidae)   Gordon Hart


Trichiosoma triangulum (Hym.: Cimbicidae)   Gordon Hart


June 17

2016 June 17


   Gordon Hart writes:  Time flies, and the June count will be this Saturday, June 18 for nine days ending Sunday, June 26.  Please use the submission form on the VNHS website:

Most of the spring butterflies are gone or in reduced numbers, but there is still a good variety of species out there on a good day.


If you need suggestions for a place to count, please email me (hartgordon19 AT If we get more than one count for a location, I will use the high numbers for each species. If you want to be removed from this list, please let me know. If you know someone who wants to be on the list, please ask them to email me.


The next monthly butterfly walk will be on Sunday July 3, and we will likely go farther afield, perhaps Shawnigan or Cowichan areas, so we will be meeting at the Mt Tolmie summit at 10 a.m., not 1p.m., to allow for travel time, and perhaps avoid the July heat (assuming there is some!).  I’ll send out another reminder closer to the date. Of course, it is weather-dependent. Thanks for participating in the count, and enjoy the butterflies!



   Rosemary Jorna writes:  This morning June 16 2016 I came upon a hatching of spiderlings [probably Araneus diadematus – Jeremy Tatum]  on a forest trail on crown land along King Creek  in Otter Point.


Probably Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Probably Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)  Rosemary Jorna



   Mike Yip writes:  A grocery trip to Nanaimo today afforded an excuse to check out the dogbane butterflies on Nanaimo River Road. It was still cool at 11:30 am and only the Clodius ParnassiansLorquin’s Admirals, and Pale and Western Tiger Swallowtails were flying, but as it warmed more butterflies started to appear: 5 Dun Skippers, 3 Hydaspe Fritillaries, 6 Cedar Hairstreaks, 3 Grey Hairstreaks, 1 Sylvan Hairstreak, and 1 Red Admiral.


Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Mike Yip


Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip


Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip


Sylvan Hairstreak Satyrium sylvinum (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


June 16

2016 June 16


   Rosemary Jorna sends photographs of some mites.  One was on her camera lens, obviously anxious to be photographed, at Rhododendron Lake on June 12, and two on the side of a jar in her kitchen (Kemp Lake Road) on June 15. Thanks to Heather Proctor for identifying the mites as probably Anystis sp.



Anystis sp. (Acariformes: Anystidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Anystis sp. (Acariformes: Anystidae) Rosemary Jorna

   Mike Yip writes from Nanoose Bay today:  A Propertius Duskywing was a pleasant surprise in my lavender patch today.


Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip

Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip


June 15

2016 June 15
   Jeremy Tatum writes:  At 6:00 pm this evening (June 15) I visited the Mount Tolmie reservoir, and I saw there a Red Admiral and three ladies, which I believe were probably all Painted Ladies.  Yet two of them weren’t “quite right”, and I wonder if one of them might have been the lady reported a few days ago by Jeff as a “lady sp.”  Also a few weeks ago I kept seeing a lady that I wasn’t sure of.  Marie photographed one, which certainly seemed to be a Painted Lady.  It would be interesting if photographers could obtain some images of one or two of the ladies on the reservoir on sunny evenings.


   Jeremy Tatum continues:  The caterpillar of the Western Spring Azure that was shown on June 11 has now pupated.  Here is the pupa:


Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Jeremy Tatum


June 14

2016 June 14


   Gordon Hart writes:  It’s almost time for the next count ( June 18-26), so I have attached a summary of the May count.  There were about 12 observers and 40 reports for 13 species of butterfly. That is down from last month and May 2015 when 19 species were seen.  It was the end of the season for Spring Azures with 15 seen, compared to 151 last year. On the other hand, Ringlets or Large Heath were seen in large numbers in several places. Lorquin’s Admiral were early this year, as none were seen in May 2015.

Here is a table:

13 species May 2016       May-2016    May-2015     Difference
Anise Swallowtail 6 -6
Western Brown Elfin 2 -2
Cabbage White 147 164 -17
California Tortoiseshell
Cedar Hairstreak 40 4 36
Common Ringlet (Large Heath) 178 20 158
Green Comma 4 -4
Grey Hairstreak 1 2 -1
Lorquin’s Admiral 38
Moss’s Elfin 2 -2
Mourning Cloak 3 -3
Painted Lady 4 13 -9
Pale Tiger Swallowtail 27 45 -18
Propertius Duskywing 4 9 -5
Purplish Copper 1 -1
Red Admiral 8 9 -1
Sara Orangetip 10 -10
Satyr Comma 1 1 0
Silvery Blue 2 -2
Western Spring Azure 15 151 -136
Two-banded Grizzled (Checkered) Skipper
West Coast Lady 1 3 -2
Western Pine Elfin
Western Tiger Swallowtail 67 27 40
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
totals 531 478 53






   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is the Satyr Comma caterpillar from Lochside Drive which I mentioned in the June 13 posting.


Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Jeremy Tatum

   And here is a small moth from the outside wall of my Saanich apartment building this morning.


Idaea dimidiata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum



Annie Pang sends a photograph of a very trusting Lorquin’s Admiral.


Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Annie Pang


Cheryl Hoyle sends a photograph of an Elder Moth seen on June 13.


Elder Moth Zotheca tranquilla (Lep.: Noctuidae) Cheryl Hoyle

Warning – Not for the squeamish!


   Gordon Hart writes:  The attached pictures are a little gruesome, so you don’t have to post them. There was a White-footed Deer Mouse that had been killed by a neighbour’s cat on our lawn. I walked by it some time later and saw it move. A few seconds later, a sexton beetle  probably Nicrophorus defodiens , laden with mites, emerged from under the remains. Apparently the mites are a beneficial parasite who hop off onto the dead mouse to eat eggs and young maggots of the flies that land there, leaving more food for the beetle. The mites could never get to the food source on their own. There is one picture of the beetle with flies and mites, one with a wasp and one close-up of the beetle and mites. Perhaps one picture is enough!  I just could not decide which one I should send so I sent three – you can edit it to one or none.


Jeremy Tatum replies:  Viewers have had their warning – so I’m showing all three, of course! The green fly in the second photograph is a female greenbottle Lucilia sp.  I believe the wasp is Vespula can anyone tell the species?  Thanks to Heather Proctor for identifying the mites as Poecilochirus sp.


Sexton beetle Nicrophorus defodiens (Col.: Silphidae)
with mites, Poecilochirus sp. (Mesostigmata: Parasitidae)
  Gordon Hart

Sexton beetle Nicrophorus defodiens (Col.: Silphidae)
with mites,  Poecilochirus sp. (Mesostigmata: Parasitidae)

Greenbottle Lucilia sp.(Dip.: Calliphoridae)

 Gordon Hart


Sexton beetle Nicrophorus defodiens (Col.: Silphidae)
with mites,  Poecilochirus sp. (Mesostigmata: Parasitidae)

Wasp Vespula sp.(Hym.: Vespidae)

 Gordon Hart