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.

September 24

2015 September 24

Today we have reports of insects large and small. Barbara Dashwood reports a large one – the caterpillar of a Polyphemus Moth at Gorge Road on September 22.  And Scott Gilmore reports a small one.  Scott writes:  Yesterday at work in the men’s washroom I saw a larger Moth Fly (family: Psychodidae) than I normally find in my bathroom at home. Turns out it is a Filter Fly, Clogmia albipunctata.  Just goes to show it is always worth keeping your eyes out for insects no matter where you are! Bathrooms are the best place to find this rather interesting group.  [Jeremy Tatum comments:  We rarely have pictures of psychodids on this site, but, on looking back, I see that we did have an unidentified psychodid contributed by Ken Vaughan on September 19, 2012.]

Filter Fly Clogmia albipunctata (Dip.: Psychodidae)

Scott Gilmore

      Ann Nightingale sends a photograph of a Painted Lady from McIntyre reservoir, Central Saanich, September 15.

 Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ann  Nightingale

  Butterflies are becoming a little scarce now, although Jeremy Tatum counted 21 Cabbage Whites in the Martindale Valley yesterday.  Please keep reporting these and other species, so we know the last dates of sightings.  Jeremy writes that today he watched an adult Autographa californica nectaring at Red Clover in classical plusiine style in the Martindale Valley.

September 23

2015 September 23

Welcome to autumn!  Apologies for no news for a few days – have been having a little computer trouble, but I think I have it organized now. 

Jeff Gaskin writes:  A Red Admiral flew across Douglas Street and south of Bay Street around 11:30 a.m. on September 21.

Wendy Ansell writes: Today (September 22) Gerry and I saw 3, possibly 4, very fresh Red Admirals by the beach at Aylard Farm, East Sooke Regional Park.  There was also 1 Pine White further west along the trail.

Rosemary Jorna sends photographs of Araneus diadematusThis is called the Common Garden Spider – but so are a few other species of spider!  This one is a European species.  She also sends a photograph of a Drone Fly Eristalis tenax, also a European. Jeremy Tatum writes: The fly bears a sufficient resemblance to a drone Honey Bee that it had me guessing for a while – I wasn’t 100 percent certain whether I was looking at a fly or a bee!  Rosemary’s photographs were taken from Broomhill in Otter Point or in Kemp Lake Road.

Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Drone Fly Eristalis tenax (Dip.: Syrphidae) Rosemary Jorna

   Jody Ells sends a photograph of a grasshopper from Saanichton Spit.  Can anyone identify it for us?


Grasshopper (Orth.: Acrididae) Jody Wells

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Lots of Banded Woolly Bears in the Martindale area today, though more had been trodden on than one would expect by accident.  I can’t help wondering if the normal reaction of many humans on seeing a caterpillar is to tread on it – just as the normal reaction to seeing a nice mushroom is to kick it over.

September 20

2015 September 20


   Rosemary Jorna sends photographs of a bee from Whiffin Spit today.  We badly need someone who can identify bees and other Hymenoptera for us.  In the meantime, Jeremy Tatum suggests that this bee might be a megachilid.

Possibly a leafcutter bee (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Possibly a leafcutter bee (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Rosemary Jorna

September 19

2105 September 19


    Rosemary Jorna writes:  Small spider on the kitchen floor – the photo is it leaving for the outside on the dust pan!

    Robb Bennett kindly provides the following identification and information:  A Xysticus crab spider (Family Thomisidae).  It is probably the introduced species Xysticus cristatus but I can’t be sure.  It was introduced not so long ago and for a while in the late 90s to early 2000s was the most common Xysticus to be found around here.  Now it seems to have dropped off in numbers and is not so common anymore.

Crab spider Xysticus (probably cristatus) (Ara.: Thomisidae)   Rosemary Jorna

   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of a Large Yellow Underwing moth (also introduced!) from his Saanich apartment.

Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum

   And Cheryl Hoyle caught one of the same species laying eggs in Metchosin:

Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Cheryl Hoyle

   Nathan Fisk writes:  Well armoured black pupa. 2 distinct orange puffs on the small end. 8 segments on the cuticle. 1.5cm in length. Slightly shiny. ‎Very intriguing. 

Jeremy Tatum writes:   This is a fly puparium.  There will be an opportunity to photograph and identify it when the adult fly emerges.  Can’t tell when this might be, but could be any day (not unlikely) – or not until next year!

Fly puparium (Diptera)  Nathan Fisk

September 18

2015 September 18


   Rosemary Jorna sends two photographs of a male Giant House Spider from Kemp Lake Road, September 16.

Male Giant House Spider Eratigena atrica (Ara.: Agelenidae) Rosemary Jorna

Male Giant House Spider Eratigena atrica (Ara.: Agelenidae) Rosemary Jorna

   Jeremy Tatum photographed what he took to be an entirely different spider from Poplar Avenue, Saanich, on September 18.  Surprise! –  Thanks to Robb Bennett for telling us that it is almost certainly a female of the same species!  (Slight chance of its being a close relative E. agrestis). 


Female Giant House Spider Eratigena atrica (Ara.: Agelenidae) Jeremy Tatum

   Jeremy Tatum writes that he saw another Banded Woolly Bear by the side of Martindale Road – we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the coming weeks.  More of a surprise, near the Garcia Nurseries was a penultimate instar caterpillar of a Painted Lady.  Unfortunately the caterpillar refused to uncurl for the photographer before press time, so we just see it curled up.  If there are caterpillars around just now, then there’s maybe a chance of seeing an adult during the October Butterfly walk (see September 17 posting).

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum