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 1

2015 June 1


   Annie Pang sends photographs of a European Paper Wasp and a crane fly, from Gorge Park, May 31.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  The wasp is a native of continental Europe – I believe it doesn’t occur in the British Isles, but I’d welcome confirmation of this.  Although I can’t be sure (and we would welcome an expert opinion) the crane fly is probably also a European (including British) insect, Tipula paludosa.   In Britain it is called “daddy long-legs” – a name that is generally used here for harvestmen or some types of spider.  The larvae of crane flies are called leatherjackets.

 European Paper Wasp Polistes dominula (Hym.: Vespidae) Annie Pang


European Paper Wasp Polistes dominula (Hym.: Vespidae) Annie Pang


sp. probably paludosa (Dip.: Tipulidae)  Annie Pang



   Ken Vaughan writes:  I had a chance to wade around a bit at the Beaver Lake Retriever
Ponds on Saturday May 30. Activity for odes is picking up. The first picture, although not a great one, is of an American Emerald (Cordulia shurtleffii). Second sighting for me, first picture. The second is of a teneral female Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis).  The third is a male Tule Bluet (Enallagma carunculatum).  Lots of activity with many Four-spotted Skimmers, Blue-eyed Darners and Cardinal Meadowhawks present.


American Emerald Cordulia shurtleffii (Odo.: Corduliidae) Ken Vaughan


Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis (Odo.: Libellulidae) Ken Vaughan


Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae) Ken Vaughan


  Jeremy Tatum shows two micro moths.  The first was sitting on my bedroom window a few nights ago. It was identified for me by Eric LaGasa as the Skunk Moth.  The caterpillar has been recorded as feeding on fungi.  Authors differ a little as to which Family to place it in, and so I am playing safe and listing it under its Superfamily

(-oidea).  I reared the second from Rosa nutkana.  It is one of several look-alike tortricids (Choristoneura, Pandemis, etc.) which are best told apart from the costal fold in the male.  This one is without costal fold and therefore a female and therefore probably best left unidentified.


Skunk Moth Polix coloradella (Lep.: Gelechioidea)  Jeremy Tatum

Tortricid moth (Lep.: Tortricicae)  Jeremy Tatum

May 31

2015 May 31


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Note yesterday from Mike Yip told me that fire closures were already in effect, and, thinking that sooner was better for a trip to Mt Cokely, I asked him if he could go today, Saturday. He was available, and we and his wife, Cathy, had a very productive trip there.  We saw a total of 18 species, with all but one seen by all of us. In rough order of sighting, from lower elevations to higher. Numbers are approximate.


Western Meadow Fritillary – 2

Pale Swallowtail – wide range of elevation. 10+

Anise Swallowtail – 3

Mylitta Crescent – 8

Silvery Blue  – 20 + [Many flyby blues could have been Silvery or Boisduval’s or Tailed.]

Spring Azure – 1

Clodius Parnassian – 2

Western Tailed Blue  – see above

Mourning Cloak – 2

Hydaspe Fritillary – 1

Persius Duskywing – very common. 30+

Arctic Skipper – 3

Boisduval’s Blue – see above

Satyr Comma – Mike says it’s unlikely. Photo to be uploaded for i.d.

Two-banded Checkered (Grizzled) Skipper – 1

Hoary (Zephyr) Comma – 10

Painted Lady – 2 (only Mike saw these)

Sara Orangetip – 1



Milestones:Lifers for me: W. Meadow Frit, Persius Duskywing, Arctic Skipper and Zephyr Comma. First time photographed by me: Clodius Apollo. First time seen by me on Vancouver Island: W. Tailed Blue.

Photos were taken of almost everything we saw, and will be posted. My day finished with 20 species: Spring Azure and W. Tiger Swallowtail at Cowichan Station, and a Painted Lady at Mt Tolmie.

The fire closures could result in the planned trip to Mount Cokely on June 13 to be cancelled. Further info will be posted.

I had a fabulous time today in butterfly heaven, and I hope the road stays open for others to enjoy this banquet of butterflies.


Aziza Cooper



   Julie Michaux  sends a photograph of a Large Yellow Underwing from her garden in Old West Saanich Road.


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Julie Michaud



   Gordon Hart sends a photograph of a Four-spotted Skimmer and a ground beetle Carabus granulatus.  Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying the beetle for us.  Note the ectoparasitic mite on the beetle’s head. 


Four-spotted Skimmer Libellula quadrimaculata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Gordon Hart

Carabus granulatus (Col.: Carabidae) Gordon Hart


May 30

2015 May 30


   Aziza Cooper sends a photograph of a Cinnabar Moth from Pedder Bay, May 24.  She also reports that:  A worn Milbert’s Tortoiseshell passed by the corner of Helmcken and Craigflower at about 11am. May 29. I was without a camera, but I saw the dark centre and light edges of the wings, small size and fast, direct flight.


Cinnabar Moth Tyria jacobaeae (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae) Aziza Cooper



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  About a week ago I found a newly-hatched caterpillar of the Western Pine Elfin along the Pathfinder trail off Munn Road.  I have to find flowers of Salal to feed it on; this is surprisingly hard to find when you urgently need it.  However, just outside the front door of the UVic Elliott building where I (sort of) work, there is a small flower bed, which has a Salal plant, and I took one small flower sprig of this when I left the office last night.  When I got home I found that it had another small Western Brown Elfin caterpillar on it – an amazing quite fortuitous find right outside my office.  The caterpillar is inside one of the flowers at the moment, but I found the empty eggshell on a small stipule below one of the flowers.



Empty eggshell of the Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides

(Lep.: Lycaenidae)

Jeremy Tatum



   He continues:  Some hill-topping nymphalids are still to be seen in the late afternoons on the Mount Tolmie reservoir.  Last night (May 29) it was a Red Admiral and three Ladies (not sure whether Painted or West Coast – I think both.)


   Bill Katz sends a photograph of Neoterpes trianguliferata  from Goldstream Park this morning.


Neoterpes trianguliferata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Bill Katz



May 29

2015 May 29


   Bill Katz saw his first two Lorquin’s Admirals of the season on Summit Hill on May 28.  He also photographed a caterpillar of Malacosoma californicum, on which you can see two ova of a tachinid fly.   These tent caterpillars have not been as abundant this year as they are most years.


Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Bill Katz

Malacosoma californicum (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)  Bill Katz



   Jeff Gaskin writes:  This morning, May 29, I saw my first of the year Lorquin’s Admiral on Mount Tolmie near the concrete reservoir. Also, in the park was at least one Western Spring Azure.

May 28

2015 May 28


   Aziza Cooper writes:  This afternoon (May 27) I saw a few butterflies in the Garry Oak meadows of Summit Park. A Lorquin’s Admiral was a first-of-year for me. Also:


Western Tiger Swallowtail -4

Cabbage White – 7

Painted Lady – 2

Western Spring Azure – 1


  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Baby caterpillars of Red Admiral and Satyr Comma are now to be found in the nettles at the side of Lochside Drive near Blenkinsop Lake.  Here are one of each.  They were very tiny indeed, so forgive any shortcomings in the photos!


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


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



   Ken Vaughan writes:    I was out on Sunday, 24 May 15, around the Beaver Lake Retriever Ponds. I saw one Pale Swallowtail (it’s big!), several Cabbage Whites,
and a few odonates. I was limited to the bushy areas away from the main
pond, due to dog training going on. I did, though, have the patience to
chase this Cardinal Meadowhawk Sympetrum illotum for an hour until I
got close enough to him.


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