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.

April 3

2016 April 3


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a Western Brown Elfin, just emerged from a chrysalis.  Reared from an egg found last year at Munn Road.  I photographed the butterfly indoors and released it at Munn Road this morning, April 3.


Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Today we went out on the first monthly VNHS butterfly walk of the year. Fourteen people saw seven butterfly species in spite of weak sunshine and cool temperatures. We started at Mount Tolmie where there was a Grey Hairstreak in the Spring Gold patch below and east of the reservoir next to the road.


Our destination today was Camas Hill, Moralea Milne’s home on Sooke Road. She guided us to her resident Moss’s Elfin, which was keeping close to Stonecrop, its larval food-plant. Two Western Spring Azures, one Cabbage White, one Sara Orangetip and four Brown Elfins were also there. The Brown Elfins were hard to see, sheltering in the cupped leaves at the top of a stunted Arbutus and occasionally flying up to skirmish with each other.


Camas Hill is private property. Please check with Moralea if you wish to visit.


We also enjoyed a good show of spring flowers, a few ravens and vultures, and a very aggressive Chestnut-backed Chickadee.


Back at Mount Tolmie, one Red Admiral was on the top of the reservoir.


Thanks for everyone’s participation.  [And thank you for leading it, Aziza.]

Moss’s Elfin  Incisalia mossii  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper


Grey Hairstreak  Strymon melinus  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper

April 2

2016 April 2

    REMINDER:  Butterfly Walk tomorrow!!!  For details see the March 30 posting – but, in brief:  Tomorrow, Sunday April 3, 1:00 p.m., at the top of Mount Tolmie.  All very welcome!

Devon Parker writes:  Hi Jeremy, I have a few butterfly sightings. First sighting (March 30) is two Sara Orangetips next to Highway 1 near the south corner of Skirt Mountain, chasing each other. There was also a Cabbage White next to the highway before Thetis Lake. The other sighting (April 1) is one Western Brown Elfin, one Sara Orangetip and one Cabbage White at a residence located on Flanagan Place in Colwood.

Gordon Hart writes:  Today, we saw a California Tortoiseshell in the yard landing on the Ceanothus (“California Lilac”) which is their larval food-plant. We had continuing Sara Orangetips, Moss’s Elfin, and two Western Spring Azures. There was also a fairly fresh Green Comma.


Green Comma  Polygonia faunus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart

Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)

Gordon Hart

    Jeff Gaskin writes: Yesterday afternoon, April 1, on Mount Tolmie just after 4:00 p.m.,  I saw a California Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral on the reservoir. The tortoiseshell was in very good condition and the admiral still looked pretty good as well. [And Jeremy Tatum adds:  And today, April 2, I saw a California Tortoiseshell, a Red Admiral and a Mourning Cloak there.  One can’t complain about lack of variety!]

   Jeff continues:  Also, on that date, April 1, while I was waiting for the bus on Gorge Road at Wascana Street,  a Mourning Cloak flew by heading towards Harriet Street.



April 1

2016 April 1

   Gordon Hart writes:   We saw a few more species today. At Francis/King Park I saw 2 Sara Orangetips, 2 Spring Azures, and an elfin sp.  At home (Highlands District), we saw a Mourning Cloak, Sara Orangetip  and a Moss’s Elfin on some Sedum, photograph attached. Also a beautiful Golden Buprestid Beetle (Buprestis aurulenta) allowed me to take some pictures.

Moss’s Elfin Incisalia mossii (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Gordon Hart

Golden Buprestid Beetle Buprestis aurulenta (Col.: Buprestidae)  Gordon Hart

    Jeremy Gatten writes:  I have lots of action right now with all this warm weather.  I was surprised to see Feralia comstocki, which normally isn’t around for another couple of weeks.  I had two Feralia deceptiva as well, so with a bit of patience I managed to get a comparison shot of the two side-by-side.

    The other nice moth I had last night was Egira perlubens.  I see maybe one or two per spring at my place, so I always enjoy spying one under my lights.

Feralia comstocki (left) and F. deceptiva (right)  (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Gatten

    Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a Behrensia conchiformis from my Saanich apartment today.  The caterpillar feeds on Snowberry.

Behrensia conchiformis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum

    Gerry and Wendy Ansell write:  We found our first Red Admiral of the year on Mount Tolmie this afternoon (April 1) between 2:00 and 3:30.  It was harassing a Mourning Cloak most of that time.  There was also 1 California Tortoiseshell, at least 1 Western Spring Azure and a Cabbage White.  I had my camera with me today so there is a photo attached.

  Jeremy Tatum adds:  I visited Mount Tolmie at about 6:30 p.m. and I saw the Red Admiral and 3 California Tortoiseshells on the reservoir.

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Wendy Ansell

    Rosemary Jorna writes:  I was attempting photographing developing frog embryos in a Kemp Lake Road garden pond when this insect larva drifted into the picture. I believe it is a mosquito. A Western Spring Azure butterfly is flying but not stopping for a photo.

    Jeremy Tatum responds:  Yes, it is a mosquito, and there is almost certainly some viewer out there who can tell us (with reasons, please) what genus it is.  Please let us know:   Jeremy adds:  We would very much welcome more pictures of terrestrial aquatic invertebrates.  We have had a few on this site, but very, very few, and there is a whole world of aquatic invertebrates out there to challenge photographers.

Mosquito larva (Dip.: Culicidae)  Rosemary Jorna

March 31 evening

2016 March 31  evening


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Late afternoon today – three California Tortoiseshells at the top of Mount Tolmie.   One at the top of Christmas Hill, as well as two (or three?) Grey Hairstreaks, and three Sara Orangetips.  The hairstreaks were hill-topping, alternating between sunning themselves and cavorting in flight with each other or with the California Tortoiseshell. In spite of their small size, they should be easy to find – and perhaps not impossible to photograph.

March 31 morning

2016 March 31 morning


   NOTICE:  Some viewers have been having trouble either viewing this site, or in submitting contributions.  We are trying to sort things out, but at present I think the best way to view the site is to go to the VNHS site , look for POPULAR ITEMS, and click on Invertebrate Alert. To submit items (recent photos or sightings), send them to



   Nathan Fisk writes:  What a day (March 30)!  Western Spring Azure, Sara Orangetips and Cabbage Whites all moving about. Found this flyer as well. All in the Garry Oak learning meadow at Fort Rodd Hill.


Jeremy Tatum responds:  I think we’d need to see a little bit more of the moth to be quite certain what it is.  It is a geometrid.  At a wild guess I’d say possibly Hydriomena manzanita.


Possibly Hydriomena manzanita (Lep.: Geometridae)  Nathan Fisk


Gordon Hart writes:   Today in our Highland District yard we had a comma sp. fly-by, and one Sara Orangetip.  At Francis/King Park, I saw a Mourning Cloak (photo attached) and a Cabbage White. Mesoleuca gratulata has been everywhere this week.

Back on March 16, I saw a similar small orange and black moth at the Pike Lake substation (photo also attached).


Mourning Cloak  Nymphalis antiopa  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart

 Epirrhoe plebeculata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Gordon Hart


Aziza Cooper writes:  Today (March 30) one Western Spring Azure was in the southeast woods at Beacon Hill Park. At Mount Tolmie this afternoon there were 2 California Tortoiseshells, 2 Spring Azures, 3 Cabbage Whites and one Sara Orangetip.  The Western Spring Azure photo is the one from Beacon Hill Park. Photo is by Jody Wells.


Western Spring Azure  Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Jody Wells

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Aziza Cooper

Val George writes:  The sun today, March 30, brought out some butterflies.  At Observatory Hill I saw a Satyr Comma and a Cabbage White.  At Mount Tolmie there were two California Tortoiseshells and two Cabbage Whites.  One fresh-looking tortoiseshell was on the reservoir at the summit;  the other, a rather beat-up one, was on a fir tree (photos attached).


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Val George

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Val George

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here’s a problem for viewers – how many California Tortoiseshells on Mount Tolmie on Tuesday?  Are the above three photos of three different individuals?  Or just two?  I think three, but I’m not sure!