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 20 morning

2019 June 20 morning


   In case you are wondering – there was no June 19 posting.  The invertebrates have been working hard for us, so they took a day off.

   Gordon Hart writes from his Highlands home:  Several of the usual butterflies here, and I saw two Green Commas on Monday. They were quite faded.  I am starting to see Meadowhawks now, and I have attached a photo, I think it is a Red-veined Meadowhawk Sympetrum madidum.


   Bingo! – Rob Cannings writes:  It is S. madidum – a yellow female. You can see the two lateral thoracic stripes. The pattern on the side of the abdomen is also a useful character. In the radial planate area (see wing with clear green behind – find the spindle-shaped field of cells) two of the cells in the middle are doubled – this is a good character, too.

Female Red-veined Meadowhawk Sympetrum madidum (Odo.: Libellulidae) Gordon Hart


   I think this is the spindle-shaped group with the two doubled cells referred to by Dr Cannings:


Sympetrum madidum

  But – a word of caution!  Dr Cannings adds a little later:  I should have said that the doubled radial subplanate cells occur also in S. illotum (sometimes) and S. corruptum, so they are not foolproof. However, their presence in all four wings in Leucorrhinia glacialis is one of the best ways to separate this species from L. proxima.

So now you know!


June 18 afternoon

2019 June 18 afternoon


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  I’ve been doing a few butterfly counts and I just thought I’d pass on to you a few results:

 Today, June 18 in Layritz Park I saw  26 Essex  Skippers, 24 Ringlets, and 2 Lorquin’s Admirals. Along Markham Road and at Quick’s Bottom I saw another Ringlet plus 7 Lorquin’s Admirals, and 2 Western Tiger Swallowtails.

On June 17, at Panama Flats I counted 125 Cabbage Whites, 94 European Skippers, 14 Lorquin’s Admirals, 1 Painted Lady, and 10 Western Tiger Swallowtails.

On June 16, at Swan Lake I saw 27 Lorquin’s Admirals, 4 Cabbage Whites, and 12 Western Tiger Swallowtails.

And finally on June 15 in Cuthbert Holmes Park I saw 3 Cabbage Whites, 5 Essex Skippers, 14 Lorquin’s Admirals, and 2 Western Tiger Swallowtails.


   Val George writes:  This afternoon, June 17, there were 3 Purplish Coppers at Island View Beach (48.582714/-123.372904) (photo of one).  Also there were:  about 10 Lorquin’s Admirals; one Painted Lady; about a dozen Cabbage Whites; 2 Essex Skippers.  Also saw and photographed these two dragonflies:  Western Pondhawk, Erythemis collocata; Cardinal Meadowhawk, Sympetrum illotum.


Male Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Val George

Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae) Val George


   Jeremy Tatum notes:  According to Rob Cannings’ book Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon, this species “usually perches flat on the ground”.  This individual has evidently read the book.


Cardinal Meadowhawk Sympetrum illotum (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Val George

  …and this one, according to the same book, perches “with wings cocked downward”.  Two well-read dragonflies.


June 18 morning

2019 June 18 morning


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I walked a little way along the railway north of Cowichan Station yesterday.  Both sides of the railway have been sprayed with herbicide, doing a very good job of destroying the vegetation there.  In spite of that, I saw a Clodius Parnassian and about 10 Margined Whites.  These were second generation, in which at least the males are absolutely pure immaculate white on both wings, above and below, unlike the early spring generation in which there is some maculation above, and the veins on the underside of the hindwings are heavily emphasized,  Also seen were about half-a-dozen each of Lorquin’s Admiral and Western Tiger Swallowtail, and it seemed every few yards a Common Whitetail dragonfly.

   Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:  After five days of NOTHING, which may be even more noteworthy than the two individuals, who kindly volunteered to appear on my wall finally, I got these two, tentatively identified as L. cuneata and Hydriomena sp Libby Avis writes:  Hydriomena speciosata, plus agree on Lacinipolia – possibly cuneata again but looks a bit faded, so hard to be certain.

Hydriomena speciosata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr




Lacinipolia (possibly cuneata) (Lep.:  Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr



June 17 evening

2019 June 17 evening


   Mike Yip photographed some nice dragonflies in his Nanoose garden, June 16.  Thanks to Rob Cannings for confirming the identifications.


Male Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Mike Yip


Female Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Mike Yip



Male Common Green Darner  Anax junius (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Mike Yip


   Jeremy Tatum shows a photograph of a caterpillar of the Western Brown Elfin butterfly, from Munn Road, in typical pose with its head buried in a Salal flower.


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





June 17 morning

2019 June 17 morning


 Mike Yip writes:  Mark Wynja and I butterflied Pass Main and the Mount Cokely Road yesterday and located 17 species – Margined White (8), Clodius Parnassian (30), Painted Lady (1), Two-banded Checkered (Grizzled) Skipper (2), Persius Duskywing (6), Pale Tiger Swallowtail (5), Western Tailed Blue (9), Silvery Blue (5), Western Sulphur (4), Western Meadow Fritillary (3), Hydaspe Fritillary (2), Julia Orangetip (7), Anna’s Blue (5), Boisduval’s Blue (12), Western Pine Elfin (1), Hoary Comma  (10), and Green Comma (3) .


   Earlier in the week we visited Cortes Island and saw 3 Silver-spotted Skippers. They were on private property not accessible to the general public.


  Notes [Jeremy Tatum].  Viewers will notice that Mike uses the name Julia Orangetip, and they may be glad of some clarification.  As with so many butterflies and other organisms, the Orangetip is subject to the frequent lumpings, splittings and name-changes of the ever-enthusiastic taxonomists.   The Orangetip has been lumped or split into several species or subspecies.  The form “julia” is regarded as a subspecies by some, or as a full species by others, and which populations are regarded as “julia” vary from author to author.  I am not a taxonomist nor indeed any sort of biologist, and I cannot make any taxonomic judgment.  My role as moderator of this site is more akin to that of an “Editor”, and as such I have to ensure that I keep to a consistent set of names throughout the site.  Since this site first opened in 2010, there have been 29 photographs of the Orangetip, and numerous other non-photographed sightings, and viewers will understand that it is impractical to keep making name-changes every time a new taxonomic status is proposed.  I try, therefore, to keep a consistent set of names, which I listed on April 16.  Thus, this site uses the name “Sara Orangetip” for orangetips seen on Vancouver Island.


  The Silver-spotted Skipper reported by Mike and Mark is a first for this site, and the question arises as to whether Cortes Island is legitimately part of Vancouver Island!  I post the record without qualms partly because no one else is covering Cortes Island, and mostly because I cannot resist posting Mike’s photograph of this magnificent creature.  Viewers might note that the name “Silver-spotted Skipper” is used in Britain for the butterfly that we call “Branded Skipped”.  Our Silver-spotted Skipper is an entirely different animal.


   Here are Mike’s photographs of some of the butterflies seen by him and Mark:


Western Sulphur Colias occidentalis  (Lep.: Pieridae)  Mike Yip


Western Meadow Fritillary Boloria epithore (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip


Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip


Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara (Lep.: Pieridae)  Mike Yip


Margined Whites Pieris marginalis (Lep.: Pieridae)


Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Mike Yip


Persius Duskywing Erynnis persius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip


Western Tailed Blue Everes amyntula (Lep,: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Anna’s Blue Lycaeides anna (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Hoary Comma Polygonia gracilis (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip


Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus (Lep.: Hesperiidae)