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 2

2019 April 2 morning


   Gordon Hart sends a photograph of Enchoria lacteata  from his Highlands garden, April 1.

Enchoria lacteata  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Gordon Hart


   Val George writes: This Satyr Anglewing (Comma) was near the Nature House at Swan Lake (48.464866/-123.374436) yesterday afternoon, April 1.  Also, a pristine Mourning Cloak flew past me at the same location.

  Jeremy Tatum writes:  The last two years were poor for both of these species.  Are going to have a come-back this year?

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George





April 1

2019 April 1


   Mike Yip writes:  Still pretty quiet for butterflies in Nanoose. Yesterday I saw one Mourning Cloak on Cross Road.   At the Notch at least four male Orangetips were flying frantically about as well as one Propertius Duskywing and many Cabbage Whites.


   Mike sends two photographs of the day-flying geometrid moth Epirrhoe plebeculata –  this is the one I keep asking viewers to look out for egg-laying.  Now you know what to look for!



Epirrhoe plebeculata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Mike Yip


Epirrhoe plebeculata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Mike Yip


   And, talking of day-flying geometrids, Jeremy Tatum and  Bill Savale saw a fine Archiaeris infans in the woods at Royal Roads University on  March 30.  But no  butterflies.


   Jochen sends pictures of more moths from Metchosin.  Some moths can be hard to identify for certain, so we have left some of them as “sp.”



Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jochen Möhr


Cerastis enigmatica  (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Cucullia sp. (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jochen Möhr


Probably Euxoa sp. Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Cladara limitaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


   Libby Avis writes from Port Alberni that she saw two Feralia deceptiva  and both light and dark Pleromelloida conserta  last night, and Mesoleuca gratulata  on March 30.




March 31

2019 March 31


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Have been so busy with Invert Alert recently (a welcome problem!) that I overlooked Val  George’s recent report of his first butterflies of the season, a California Tortoiseshell on Mount Tolmie, and a Cabbage White checking out the kale in his garden in Oak Bay on March 29.


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


   Geoffrey and David Newell report two California Tortoiseshells from Mount Douglas today, March 31, as well as many Sara Orangetips and a Propertius Duskywing.


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Geoffrey Newell


    Ken Vaughan sends a photo of a California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica from the Mount Tolmie reservoir on 30 March 2019 at about 4:00 PM.


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ken Vaughan


   Gordon Hart writes:  The Green Commas continue here in the Highlands, with three yesterday. We also saw one faded Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus, a Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa hyperborea and a Moss’ Elfin Callophrys mossii mossii. We have been planting and encouraging more of the Moss’ Elfin larval food plant, stonecrop Sedum  spathulifolium.  Still lots of Epirrhoe plebeculata around, and I will look for Mesoleuca gratulata.


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


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


   And just as we go to press, a nice underside of a California Tortoiseshell, photographed by Val George on the summit of Mount Douglas 48.492834/-123.345710 today, March 31.  Also there were seven  Sara Orangetips and one Cabbage White.


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

March 31

2019 March 31 morning


   Scott Gimore sends photographs of another mite from Lantzville, March 30, identified by Ray Fisher as a member of the Family Damaeidae.

Mite  (Acari: Damaeidae)  Scott Gilmore

Mite  (Acari: Damaeidae)  Scott Gilmore


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yesterday, March 30, Bill Savale and I wandered over some of the hills above the railway line next to Shawnigan Lake Road.  We saw what must have been hundreds of the day-flying geometrid moth Epirrhoe plebeculata, but, strangely, no Mesoleuca gratulata.  No one has yet reported the latter species to Invert Alert this year.  I am trying to find the egg and caterpillar of Epirrhoe plebeculata.  Please watch out for this moth and watch if you can see it ovipositing, and what the plant is.



March 30

2019 March 30


   Mark Wynja writes:  Yesterday March 29th on Little Mountain (Parksville) the butterflies were active, and it reached 17oC. I observed one Mourning Cloak, one Cedar Hairstreak, and two of the rarely reported Oreas Commas. Three times the Commas met and they flew spiraling up overhead.

Oreas Comma Polygonia oreas (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mark Wynja

Oreas Comma Polygonia oreas (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mark Wynja

Oreas Comma Polygonia oreas (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mark Wynja


Oreas Comma Polygonia oreas (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mark Wynja

   Jochen Möhr writes:  Although I checked the status of the chrysalis [see January 22 entry] at my garden gate of the Sara Orangetip repeatedly every day, I missed the emergence, which happened today between something around 10 a.m., when I took the last picture of the chrysalis for my granddaughter in Germany, with the wing colours faintly shining through, and just now, around 2:25, when I went back and found the lid open and the chrysalis empty.   And I had so much hoped for a picture of a freshly emerged Orangetip, if not a documentation of the emergence .    [Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yes, emerging butterflies always do that.  You can sit up with your camera focussed  on the chrysalis for hours, and then, when you go a for a brief bathroom break, the butterfly emerges.   I’m convinced they do it on purpose.]


Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara (Lep.: Pieridae)  Jochen Möhr

Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara (Lep.: Pieridae)  Jochen Möhr


   Barb McGrenere writes: Mike and I saw two California Tortoiseshells near the Plaskett Telescope yesterday afternoon.  They were both sunning on the paved area around the building.  Also, there was one male Sara Orangetip near the summit of Observatory Hill.

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Barbara McGrenere


      Kirsten Mills writes:  Today I saw one California Tortoiseshell on Mount Tolmie at 5:05pm. Later, I saw three three on Mount Douglas at 5:30pm. Below is the one that was on Mount Tolmie.

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)

Kirsten Mills