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 18 morning

2019 August 18 morning


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I don’t think I have found a permanent solution to the computer problem that beset Invert Alert recently, but I am posting two photographs here as a test.  If they work all right, we may try opening up Invertebrate Alert to photographs again.   I’ll let you know in the next posting. Apologize to those who who did not have their photographs posted in the past week.  In the meantime, please continue to send text reports of interesting sightings,


  The photographs below show a harvestman on the wall of my Saanich apartment building yesterday.

The name  “daddy-long-legs” is used for several different insects, spiders and harvestmen in different parts of the English-speaking world, so perhaps it is best to stick to the name “harvestman”.  In England the name “daddy-long-legs” is used for a crane fly.  I have never seen this, but I have read that harvestmen from time to time undergo ecydsis, when they shed their entire skin, legs included, in one piece.  The second pair of a harvestman’s legs are longer than the others.  It uses the second pair for tactile exploring, although it is thought that these legs may also have olfactory or chemical sensors.  Sometimes a harvestman will lose one or more legs through accident, and these legs do not degererate.  The loss of one or two legs does not unduly incommode the animal, unless it loses one of the second pair, in which case the animal is more seriously inconvenienced.


Phalangium opilio (Opil.: Phalangiidae)  Jeremy Tatum



Phalangium opilio (Opil.: Phalangiidae)  Jeremy Tatum


August 16

2019 August 16


   Thomas Barbin writes that he saw a Purplish Copper at Goldstream Park on August 14.  Jeremy Tatum writes that he and Jochen Möhr saw a Painted Lady at Jochen’s Metchosin property today, August 16.

August 15

2019 August 15


   Viewers who have been following recent Inverterate Alert postings will know that, because of some computer problems, for the moment we’ll not be posting photographs, but we’ll continue to post text.  I don’t know at present when or if we’ll be able to resume posting photographs.


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Kirsten Mills and I saw a Lorquin’s Admiral by King’s Pond on August 13.  Kirsten Mills tells me she also saw 4 Lorquin’s Admirals in Uplands Park on August 12, and a very late Western Tiger Swallowtail on August 11, at Royal Roads University.


  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Please continue to reports sightings of these species, so that we are able to record the dates of the last sightings.  I visited Blenkinsop Lake and Rithet’s Bog today without seeing a single butterfly.  Is this year’s  butterfly season drawing to a close?


August 14

2019 August 14


Invertebrate Alert


    Jeremy Tatum writes:  I *think* that the computer problems that have recently struck this site affect only pictures and not text.   Apparently, malware can be embedded in a picture, so the UVic security system has a filter that scans pictures for malware and it flags a picture if it thinks it has detected some.  Unfortunately it has twice flagged a false positive, and the effect was not only to prevent me from sending a posting, but it played havoc with my computer, in particular preventing me from accessing any site associated with the VNHS.


  However, assuming that the glitch does not affect text, let us try to continue with Invertebrate Alert for the time being, but with text only.  We do very much need a forum not only for exhibiting photographs, but also for disseminating genuine “alerts”, for example if any sulphurs or American Ladies were to turn up.  I’ll also continue to need viewers to report their routine sightings, so that I can write up a Butterfly Report for the year, which I have been doing on January 1 each year for the last few years.   One thing we need is “last sightings” for the year.  For example, are there any swallowtails or Lorquin’s Admirals still flying around?


  If at some later time we find a solution for the malware problem, we might be able to resume the posting of photographs, though I don’t know when or if that might be.  At present I am not actively searching for a solution, since I have already done everything I can think of.


   BTW, this site is not intended as an identification service.  However, most times when I have been sent a picture of an unidentified animal, I have attempted to identify it, often sending it to a specialist in the group.  So, if you get a good photograph of a creature that you do not know, please do send it to me (jtatum at uvic dot ca).  It may be that I know what it is or can easily find out.  I shan’t post the picture (unless we have solved the computer problem) or send it to an expert, but it could be that it is an easy one.


  There were about six Painted Ladies at the top of Mount Tolmie at 6:00 pm, August 14, either on the reservoir, or near the Jeffery Pine.  I am convinced that, when they rest on the reservoir, they have a decided preference for sitting on one of the pale patches there.

August 13

2019 August 13


Two items this morning, from Jeremy Tatum:


  1.  Invertebrate Alert
  2. Johnson’s Hairstreak



1.       Invertebrate Alert


   The Invertebrate Alert Website was started in 2010 and has posted items daily (in high summer often two or occasionally even three postings per day) for the last nine years.  It has been a most enjoyable experience running this site,  and, needless to say, I have learned an enormous amount about the invertebrates of Vancouver Island, and have made many friends.  It has, however, been quite time-consuming, and during the peak months May to August preparing each posting has often taken several hours, or most of a full working day.  This has been no problem, because it has all been thoroughly enjoyable.

  However, in the last few days a computer problem has arisen, and I have been spending the last five days doing almost nothing but trying to solve it, which is not so enjoyable, and I have neither the expertise nor, frankly, the time to struggle with computers.  The problem that has arisen, as I understand it, is that UVic has recently installed a new security system, which scans photographs sent via email.  Apparently photographs can be manipulated to contain malware, and so photographs have to go through a filter.  The filter has twice recently flagged an Invert Alert posting.  The effect of this is not only that the posting to Invert Alert is blocked, but also my personal access to any VNHS site, including the VNHS Home Page, is blocked.  [Also apparently my access to BCVIbirds is permanently blocked.  I don’t understand that, because I didn’t think BCVIbirds was a VNHS site.  It may have been just a coincidence, but the BCVIbirds site became blocked for me at exactly the same time as the VNHS and Invert Alert sites were blocked.]

  I have had extensive discussions with the staff at the UVic Help Desk, and they have been most helpful in suggesting possible solutions.  In one of these, I would post photographs in zip files, and viewers would have to unzip the files in order to view them.  In another solution I would have to change my email address.  I feel that both of these possible solutions are unacceptable, or even if they were acceptable, I simply no longer have the time to implement such changes.  Although officially retired, I am still engaged at a professional level in astrophysical research, and the extra time involved in trying to solve this current computer problem is seriously infringing on my professional work.

   This posting, therefore, which includes no photographs, is my last Invert Alert posting, and is a very sad day for me, although every cloud has a silver lining and it may give me a bit more personal time for butterfly- and bird-watching, which I have sorely neglected of late.  I would like to thank the many contributors who have been sending in enormous numbers of photographs and sighting records of extremely high quality.  I haven’t worked out the statistics, but it would surprise me if much fewer than a thousand species have been featured over the years.  I also thank the many professional and amateur specialist experts who have generously given their time and expertise in identifying many of the species.  And I particularly thank Adam Taylor who originally set up the system which (normally!) made it so easy and routine to post items, to make corrections to past postings, and to update the Index regularly.

2.       Johnson’s Hairstreak


   Earlier this year it was revealed with little warning that there was to be extensive logging in the Port Renfrew area, and this led to much public protest.  At the suggestion of one of the regular Invert viewers I wrote (on paper, not email), a little more than three months ago, to Minister for the Environment George Heyman, concerning the Johnson’s Hairstreak, which had been discovered in that area two or three years ago by Devon Parker.  I enclosed a photograph of the butterfly.  I also asked what its legal status was (I already knew that it was S1S2 – but I didn’t think the Minister probably knew, and I wanted him to make the effort to find out.)  I have just had a reply from Asisstant Deputy Minister Jennifer McGuire, and this is what she says in part:

   Johnson’s Hairstreak has a provincial status rank of S1S2 (critically imperiled/imperiled) and is on the BC Red List…The species is pending assessment by COSEWIC, and therefore is not currently eligible for list under the Species at Risk Act. The species is listed as Identified Wildlife under the BC Forest and Range Practices Act;  however, under the BC Wildlife Act invertebrates and plants are not included in the definition of wildlife and therefore cannot be  protected under this act.

  She continues to say that there are 12 known mapped occurrences for BC, and she lists the five known mapped occurrences on Vancouver Island, namely:

  1. Mount Olsen – 23 km SSE of Port Albermi
  2. Nitinat River
  3. Robertson River
  4. SE of San Juan Ridge
  5. Shawnigan Lake

She continues:

   Because Johnson’s Hairstreak is not listed as wildlife under the BC Wildlife Act, there are no provisions to protect this species from forest harvesting or other forms of land development.  In addition because the occurrence (near San Juan Ridge) is on private land, the BC Forest and Ranges Practices Act does  not apply.

   So there we have it:  It holds the provincial status of critically imperiled/imperiled), but it is not classified as Wildlife and therefore cannot be protected from forest harvest and land development.

   What I don’t know is the source of Jennifer’s information about the “mapped occurrences”.  Do they currently have professional lepidopterists, whom none of us know, scouring these areas?  Or are these nineteenth-century museum  specimens?  Or something in between?  I just don’t know.  In any case, these are obviously little-visited areas, and it would be most interesting to have some current records of the species there.  Next spring, anyone, perhaps?

Where to find the missing postings:

August 8.  This has been posted on August 19

August 9.  There was no posting for August 9.

August 10.  This has been posted on August 19.

August 11.   This has been posted on August 19.

August 12.  There was no posting for August 12.