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.

August 12

2015 August 12


   The season seems to be drawing rapidly to a close for most butterflies – with the exception of the Woodland Skipper.  There are lots of these around.  Jeremy Tatum noted clouds of them flitting around thistle and burdock flowers at UVic yesterday.  Today Anne Murray writes from Saturna Island (a welcome contribution – we get few reports from there): There are suddenly dozens of these little butterflies around our lavender flowers on Saturna Island. Am I correct in identifying them as Woodland Skippers?  [Yes, you are!  –  Jeremy]  I am trying to attract native butterflies to our garden here. Any suggestions for other good larval/nectar plants would be most helpful. [I’ll try and reply sometime.  In the meantime, Lavender is as good a nectaring flower as any (see postings of July 23 and July 30 for association of this butterfly with Lavender) – though I’ll have some other suggestions later – and the foodplant of the Woodland Skipper caterpillars is grass!  They are probably not all that particular as to species of grass, though I haven’t investigated that at length.]    And Rosemary Jorna sends a photograph of an adult from near Kemp Lake.  The “Woodland” in its English name is merely a translation of its Latin name sylvanoides.  The butterfly can be seen in almost any habitat other than woodland!


Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   Rosemary sends several other photographs of insects and spiders.  We show some of them here. We are still trying to identify some of the others before posting them.  If any viewer can identify those below that are incompletely identified, please do let us know.


Ants (Hym.:  Formicidae) on Tansy       Rosemary Jorna


Bumble bee Bombus sp. (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Bumble bee Bombus sp. (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna



Garden Spider Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Aranaeidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Crab spider Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisiidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying the beetle below.


Megapenthes sp. (Col.: Elateridae)  Rosemary Jorna



   Scott Gilmore sends photographs of a moth caterpillar and two beetles from Upper Lantzville.


American Lappet Moth 

Phyllodesma americana (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)

Scott Gilmore


American Lappet Moth 

Phyllodesma americana (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)

Scott Gilmore


American Lappet Moth 

Phyllodesma americana (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)

Scott Gilmore



Uloma longula (Col,: Tenebrionidae)  Scott Gilmore

Black Vine Weevil  Otiorhynchus sulcatus (Col.: Curculionidae)

Scott Gilmore



   Jeremy Tatum reports a Lorquin’s Admiral today from Bow Park, Saanich.


August 11

2015 August 11


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  On Monday evening August 10, around 6:45 pm. there were 3 Painted Ladies hilltopping on Christmas Hill and nothing else. Then, today on Tuesday August 11, at noon in Beacon Hill Park near the children’s petting zoo, were 2 Pine Whites.

August 10

2015 August 10


  Ann Nightingale sends a picture of a giant sawfly larva from Pedder  Bay today.


Giant sawfly Cimbex americana (Hym.:  Cimbicidae)  Ann Nightingale



   Jeremy Tatum went hill-topping on Mount Douglas at 7:00 pm today.  He scored one each of Red Admiral and Painted Lady.   I don’t think anyone has done Highrock Park in Esquimalt yet.


   Scott Gilmore writes:  I found an interesting plant bug (Miridae) on my house earlier today. I think it is in the genus Phytocoris.


Plant bug, probably Phytocoris sp. (Hem.: Miridae) Scott Gilmore

August 9

2015 August 9


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I went to Cordova Spit today in another attempt to find a Western Branded Skipper.  Phew!  It’s a long walk from IVB in this heat.  On the way there, in the grassy fields just inshore from IVB, there were clouds of Woodland Skippers, and a very few Large Heaths (C. tullia) and Cabbage Whites.  The spit itself at first seemed to be totally barren of all butterflies, but I persisted and saw about two Woodland Skippers and a Purplish Copper.  And then I got it – just one very brief glimpse of a single Western Banded Skipper.  It was nectaring on Grindelia for just a second, and then it flew off and vanished.  However, even though I saw only a very brief glimpse, it was enough to answer one question.  I had wondered if I was failing to recognize the Western Branded Skipper.  Perhaps many of the butterflies that I had been dismissing as Woodland Skippers were in fact Western Branded Skippers, which I had failed to recognize. Well, my one brief glimpse answered that question.  Even at a casual glance it was obvious what it was. The chance of confusing the two species is zero.  The Western Branded Skipper is an entirely different animal.  Whether it is a different animal than the Common Branded Skipper I’m not so sure.  Small and subtle differences in museum specimens from different populations of a widely-distributed species do not amount to different species. Someone please find me a caterpillar!


   So – if the Western Branded Skipper is not yet on your life list, there is a small – but finite – chance at Cordova Spit just now.


   No more invertebrate news today. Too hot for people and for butterflies, I think.


August 8

2015 August 08


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I went to the top of Christmas Hill at 7:00 pm on August 7 to see if there were any hill-topping nymphalids.  I scored 2 Red Admirals and a Painted Lady.


   Val George writes:  Butterflies at Island View Beach and Saanichton (Cordova) Spit yesterday, August 7:  5 Coenonympha tullia (Ringlet or Large Heath), 3 Purplish Coppers, 1 Essex Skipper, c. two dozen Woodland Skippers (but no Branded Skippers).


  Gerry and Wendy Ansell write: This afternoon (Friday August 7) we went to Cordova Spit to look for the Western Branded Skippers.  I found only 1 (that I was able to photograph) but quite a few Woodland Skippers.  We also got 1 female Purplish Copper and a Cabbage White.  I also saw the attached grasshopper, but I’m not sure what it is.  Any ideas?  It was quite small.  As you can see it fits in the centre of a flower.


Female Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Val George


Large Heath (“Ringlet”) Coenonympha tullia

(Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)

Val George


Grasshopper (Orth.: Acrididae)  Wendy Ansell



   Aziza Cooper writes:  The bee is from the blackberries at Haliburton Farm yesterday (August 7). I’ve never seen a bee with pink pollen before.  [Can someone out there identify it for us?  The bee or the pollen will do!]


   The Red Admiral was on Moss Rock on Thursday evening.


Bee Bombus sp. (Hym.: Apidae)   Aziza Cooper


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Aziza Cooper