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.

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

May 27

2015 May 27


   Gordon Hart writes (May 26): I stayed around the yard today and managed to catch up with a few insects.  The Ceanothus (California Lilac) is in full bloom and was attracting several kinds of bees and three Cedar Hairstreaks with a couple of Spring Azures. I counted eight Pale Swallowtails at the same time on the Rhododendrons , a new yard record I think. I have attached another picture of a Cedar Hairstreak, plus a small brown pug on a squash leaf; and a small beetle with bright red-pink stripes on the pronotum.


   Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying the beetle to genus as Ellychnia.   This is in the firefly family, but only the larvae bioluminesce. 


   Jeremy Tatum writes that his best guess for the pug is Eupithecia annulata – but he can’t be certain.

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Gordon Hart


Ellychnia sp.: (Col.: Lampyridae)  Gordon Hart



Eupithecia sp. (perhaps annulata) (Lep.: Geometridae) Gordon Hart


   Scott Gilmore sends photos of two colour varieties of a cerambycid  beetle – the common black-bodied form:


Pidonia scripta (col.: Cerambycidae) Scott Gilmore



and a less-common form with a brown body:


Pidonia scripta (Col.: Cerambycidae) Scott Gilmore





   He also sends photographs of a very tiny bug, the Mountain Leafhopper:


Colladonus montanus (Hem.: Cicadellidae) Scott Gilmore


Colladonus montanus (Hem.: Cicadellidae) Scott Gilmore





May 26

2015 May 26


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  The snail Cepaea nemoralis often has a pretty shell, but the one below, which I found, strangely, on an oak tree on Mount Tolmie yesterday really seems to have made a special effort.


Cepaea nemoralis (Pul.: Helicidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   An Apamea amputatrix flew into my bedroom late last night.




Apamea amputatrix (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum



    Eric LaGasa of the Washington State Department of Agriculture has very kindly identified some recently photographed micro moths for us – as far as it possible to identify these small moths from photographs.


Maybe Archips rosanus (Lep.: Tortricidae)   Jeremy Tatum



Probably Argyrotaenia franciscana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Probably Argyrotaenia franciscana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Choristoneura rosaceana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Olethreutes albiciliana (Lep.: Tortricidae) Jeremy Tatum

Possibly Euzophera semifuneralis

(Lep.: Pyralidae)

Bill Katz