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.

June 29 morning

2020 June 29 morning


   Ron Flower sends photographs of a Satyr Comma from Cowichan Station, and a Dun Skipper on the way to Kinsol Trestle.


Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris (Lep.: Hesperiidae)   Ron Flower

   Jeff Gaskin tells us that Kirsten Mills saw a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell on the top of Mount Tolmie shortly before 5:00 pm yesterday, June 28.  Jeremy Tatum was on Mount Tolmie at 6:30 pm and he saw two Painted Ladies near the Jeffery Pine;  nothing on the reservoir.


Val George writes:  I took this photo of a Western Red Damsel Amphiagrion abbreviatum, yesterday, June 28, at Island View Park.


Western Red Damsel Amphiagrion abbreviatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)  Val George

Jochen Möhr’s moths at Metchosin  this morning:


1 Callizzia amorata

1 Eupithecia sp.

1 Protitame subalbaria

1 Tyria jacobaeae





June 28

2020 June 28


    A Polyphemus Moth made it on to the front page of the Times-Colonist today.


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yesterday I saw  Synanthedon bibioniformis  on a rose bush at Island View Beach.  This is one of the clearwing moths (Sesiidae), which I see only rarely and find so exciting whenever I see one.


A House Wren in Nanoose has submitted (via Mike Yip) several invertebrates for identification.  If any  viewers can help this bird, please let us know.


House Wren and spider.       Mike Yip


House Wren and Eratigena spider.       Mike Yip

House Wren and spider.       Mike Yip

House Wren and orthopteran         Mike Yip

House Wren and moth (I think noctuid) caterpillar.     Mike Yip

   Mike Yip adds interesting comments on the question of Ron Flower’s Parnassian butterfly [see May 27, and Val George’s comments on June 25.]:


Regarding the smintheus vs clodius question, there is no doubt that it is a clodius. If you examine Ron’s photo closely you will see that the white on the antenna is not clearly defined because it is the reflection of the light on the ridges of the antenna. Compare with the photo (shown below) that I took in 2014. The white is clearly and sharply demarcated from the black.


Parnassius smintheus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Mike Yip


Ron:  I think you’ll have to go and get more parnassius photos to clinch the matter! (Jeremy Tatum)

Mr E sends an easy beetle, a difficult beetle and a difficult bug.  The easy beetle is Lepturobosca chrysocoma.  (Well, fairly easy  – it is subject to taxonomic name-changes.  Thus, it has appeared earlier in this site under the name Cosmosalia chrysocoma.)


Lepturobosca chrysocoma (Col.: Cerambycidae)   Mr E

Lepturobosca chrysocoma (Col.: Cerambycidae)   Mr E

(“chrysocoma” means “golden hair”)

   The beetle below is obviously a ladybird beetle (Coccinellidae).  One would think that identification would be easy, but there are several species, many of which are highly variable, and we can’t quite place this one with full confidence:


Unidentified ladybird beetle (Col.: Coccinellidae)   Mr E

Unidentified bug (Hem.:  possibly Lygaeidae?)  Mr E


Jody Wells sends photographs of two dragonflies from Martindale Valley:


Common Whitetail Plathemis lydia (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:


Iridopsis emasculatum (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Anavitrinella pampinaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

[Jeremy Tatum writes:  Thanks to Libby Avis for identifying the above moth, which I had earlier labelled incorrectly.]

Hydriomena speciosata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr



June 27

2020 June 27


   It’s a day for giant sawflies (Cimbicidae)   – two photos of cimbicids came within minutes.  First from Gordon Hart from the Highlands area:


Giant Birch Sawfly  Trichiosoma triangulum (Hym.: Cimbicidae)  Gordon Hart

   Second is a sawfly larva, photographed by Bonnie Blackwood in the Gorge area, and identified by Libby Avis.  The larva is particularly fond of Honeysuckle, which is where it was found.


Abia americana (Hym.: Cimbicidae)  Bonnie Blackwood

   Gordon also sends a picture of a fearsome robber fly.  We are not sure which of two similar species it is – it is possible that the two species may one day be “lumped”.


Robber fly Laphria fernaldi/asturina (Dip.: Asilidae)  Gordon Hart

   Much less fearsome is this bumblebee.  I dare say it has a sting and could use it if it wanted to, but it is a much gentler animal, and I have never heard of someone being stung by one.   Thanks to Annie Pang for the identification.


Bumblebee Bombus mixtus (Hym.: Apidae)  Gordon Hart


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here are photographs of a caterpillar and adult of a pug.  The caterpillar fed on Mahonia.  Some of these pugs are just too difficult to identify, and this is one of them!  Could be Eupithecia maestosa.  But equally could be something else!


Eupithecia sp. (Lep,: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

Eupithecia sp. (Lep,: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today, June 27, I found another California Tortoiseshell in essentially the same spot where I saw one last year and also about the same time of year too.  I found it in Summit Park even though the day was very cloudy and breezy.  Not much else though except for a Lorquin’s Admiral, a Cabbage White and a Western Tiger Swallowtail.


June 26

2020 June 26


   Jochen Möhr reports only one moth – the geometrid Protitame subalbaria – from Metchosin this morning.


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is the young Red Admiral caterpillar that I reported in yesterday’s posting:


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum


   The little moth below was reared from a caterpillar feeding on Sambucus at King’s Pond, Saanich.  The moth emerged on June 20.


Pandemis limitata (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Jeremy Tatum

June 25

2020 June 25

Val George writes:  Here’s my two cents’ worth on Ron’s Parnassian photos posted May 27.  The major distinguishing feature between clodius and smintheus is I think the banded antennae on smintheusclodius has plain black antennae.  Ron’s photos clearly show this feature, suggesting smintheus.  However, another difference between the two species is supposed to be the second black bar from the thorax on the forewing in the cell closest to the front edge of wing.  For smintheus it shouldn’t reach completely across the cell;  for clodius it does reach fully across.  All the photos I’ve seen of the two species show this difference, e.g., all 27 photos for smintheus on e-Fauna showing the forewing do not have the bar reaching across whereas all 23 similar photos for clodius do have the bar reaching across.  Ron’s photos show this bar reaching fully across the cell suggesting clodius.  It was previously noted that Ron’s butterfly doesn’t have any red spots on its forewing, again suggesting clodius, but this isn’t a definitive identification feature.  My conclusion:  a very definite maybe for smintheus.


Thank you, Val, for this quite considerable bit of research.


   Jochen Möhr sends photographs of two moths – identified by Libby Avis – from Metchosin this morning:


Apamea antennata (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

Metanema inatomaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr



Jeremy Tatum writes:  I found a young Red Admiral caterpillar today along Lochside Trail near Lohbrunner’s.


And along the same trail today, Jeff Gaskin reports a Satyr Comma, 10 Lorquin’s Admirals,  a few Cabbage Whites and 3 Western Tiger Swallowtails.


Kirsten Mills sends a photograph of another caterpillar found near the same place some time in May.  I am supposed to be calling it Erannis vancouverensis, but I have yet to be convinced that it isn’t the European Erannis defoliaria.

Erannis vancouverensis/defoliaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Kirsten Mills

   Also in May, Richard Rycraft sends a picture from Oak Bay of a pair of Narcissus Bulb Flies in copula.

Narcissus Bulb Flies Merodon equestris (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Richard Rycraft.

   Rosemary Jorna sends a photograph of a Pale Tiger Swallowtail from Muir Creek:


Pale Tiger Swallowtail (Lep.: Papilionidae)   Rosemary Jorna

She also saw three Western Tiger Swallowtails, though she comments on the scarcity of these butterflies.