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 (jtatum@uvic.ca). 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 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

August 7

2015 August 7

 

   Here’s another photograph of the Lesser Yellow Underwing from Val George’s carport yesterday.

 

Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Val George

 

   Aziza Cooper writes:  Tonight, August 6, I saw two butterflies hilltopping at Moss Rock summit. There was a very fresh Painted Lady, and a very worn Red Admiral.

 

  Devon Parker writes:  I just remembered I had photographed some butterflies on the eastern peak of Mt. Prévost in Duncan on May 8 2015. Not sure if it is too late to add to the invert alert but I saw one Moss’s Elfin, one Western Elfin and one unidentified male ‘Blue’ possibly nectaring on Kinnikinnick.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yes, definitely too late! But I’ll post them just the same!   Just this once!   🙂

Moss’s Elfin Incisalia mossii (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Devon Parker

 

 

Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides  (Lep.:  Lycaenidae)

Devon Parker

 

 

   Aziza Cooper writes: Attached are two lists showing the environmental statuses of butterflies on Vancouver Island. They were compiled by Mike Yip, and I’ve checked the current statuses on the Conservation Data Centre (CDC) website. There are several discrepancies in names and entries, but even so the lists should be helpful in sorting out your sightings.

 

VANCOUVER ISLAND BUTTERFLIES

 Compiled by Mike Yip; edited by Aziza Cooper

 SWALLOWTAILS & APOLLOS  PROVINCIAL STATUS  

Clodius Apollo                           blue

Rocky Mountain Apollo          blue 

Anise Swallowtail     

Western Tiger Swallowtail   

Pale Swallowtail      

 

WHITES, MARBLES, & SULPHURS

Pine White       

Western White         

Margined White      

Cabbage White    exotic 

Island Marble        red, extirpated

Sara’s Orangetip

Clouded Sulphur                           

Orange Sulphur     migrant

Western Sulphur    

 

GOSSAMER WINGS

Purplish Copper      

Reakirt’s Copper     

Sylvan Hairstreak        

Johnson’s Hairstreak       red, extirpated

Cedar Hairstreak

Western Elfin  

Moss’ Elfin     blue

Western Pine Elfin    blue  

Grey Hairstreak

Western Tailed Blue     

Western Spring Azure

Silvery Blue      

Anna’s Blue      blue 

Greenish Blue         red, extirpated

Boisduval’s Blue                 blue

Arctic Blue       

 

BRUSHFOOTS

Satyr Anglewing

Green Comma

Zephyr Anglewing      

Oreas Anglewing

Compton Tortoiseshell            migrant

California Tortoiseshell   migrant

Mourning Cloak      

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell

American Lady    migrant

Painted Lady     migrant  

Red Admiral     migrant

Westcoast Lady    migrant

Zerene Fritillary    red

Hydaspe Fritillary

Mormon Fritillary      

Western Meadow Fritillary    

Field Crescent

Mylitta Crescent      

Chalcedon Checkerspot             extirpated   

Taylor’s Checkerspot           red  

Lorquin’s Admiral     

Common Ringlet    red

Common Woodnymph   red  

Great Arctic         

Melissa Arctic         

Monarch         blue, migrant

 

SKIPPERS

Silver-spotted Skipper                     blue, extirpated  

Northern Cloudywing        

Dreamy Duskywing

Propertius Duskywing   red 

Persius Duskywing

Two-banded Checkered Skipper   

Arctic Skipper

European Skipper    exotic  

Common Branded Skipper

Western Branded Skipper           red

Woodland Skipper     

Dun Skipper         red

Roadside Skipper

 

VANCOUVER ISLAND BUTTERFLIES

 

TRUE BUTTERFLIES

 

SWALLOWTAILS & APOLLOS    

Clodius Apollo                           

Rocky Mountain Apollo    

Anise Swallowtail     

Western Tiger Swallowtail   

Pale Swallowtail      

WHITES, MARBLES, & SULPHURS

Pine White    

Western White         

Margined White   

Cabbage White   

Large Island Marble        

Sara’s Orangetip

Clouded Sulphur                         Orange Sulphur     

Western Sulphur    

 

GOSSAMER WINGS

Purplish Copper   

Reakirt’s Copper     

Sylvan Hairstreak     

Johnson’s Hairstreak       

Cedar Hairstreak

Western Elfin  

Moss’ Elfin     

Blue=  Blue listed, Red=Red listed, Green=Introduced, Pink=migrant

 

 

 

Western Pine Elfin     Grey Hairstreak

Western Tailed Blue    Western Spring Azure

Silvery Blue      

Anna’s Blue    

Greenish Blue  (P. s. insulanus)  

Boisduval’s Blue                 

Arctic Blue       

 

BRUSHFOOTS

Satyr Anglewing

Green Comma

Zephyr Anglewing      

Oreas Anglewing

Compton Tortoiseshell            

California Tortoiseshell   

Mourning Cloak   

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell

American Lady    

Painted Lady    

Red Admiral     

Westcoast Lady    

Zerene Fritillary (S. z. bremnerii)  

Hydaspe Fritillary

Mormon Fritillary   

Western Meadow Fritillary    

Compiled by Mike Yip, 2015

 

 

Field Crescent

Mylitta Crescent   

Chalcedon Checkerspot          

Taylor’s Checkerspot

Lorquin’s Admiral     

Common Ringlet    

Common Woodnymph    Great Arctic         

Melissa Arctic

Chryxus Arctic             

Monarch xxx         

 

SKIPPERS

 

Silver-spotted Skipper                      Northern Cloudywing        

Dreamy Duskywing

Propertius Duskywing 

Persius Duskywing

Two-banded Checkered Skipper   

Arctic Skipper

European Skipper     Common Branded Skipper

Western Branded Skipper           

Woodland Skipper     

Dun Skipper         

Roadside Skipper   

August 6

2015 August 6

 

   Val George writes:  This morning, August 6, I had two of these Lesser Yellow Underwings in my carport in Oak Bay. 

 

Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Val George

 

   Devon Parker writes:  I was up on the San Juan Ridge today and it was a terrible day for butterflies, although I got to identify the fritillaries [see August 3 posting]  as the Hydaspe Fritillary. They have a few extra black spots on the ventral hindwing compared with zerene when I compared pinned specimens of the two.

San Juan Ridge:
1 skipper
2 Hydaspe Fritillaries

South of the San Juan Ridge is the Jordan Ridge. There were 2 Grey Hairstreaks there. At a lower elevation on the Jordan Ridge there was one skipper.