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 4

2015 August 4


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today, August 4, in Uplands Park while with the Tuesday birders’ group, we found a single Western Tiger Swallowtail and 2 Lorquin’s Admirals. There were also several Woodland Skippers in the park as well.


  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Observers are noticing that the season for Western Tiger Swallowtails is beginning to wind down.  To reassure observers, however, I can say that there will be at least one next year – the caterpillar below was found at King’s Pond.


Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   If the season is winding down for many butterflies, Woodland Skippers seem to be very numerous just now – witness Annie Pang’s photograph of four on a single thistle flower.


Woodland Skippers Ochlodes sylvanoides (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Annie Pang


   Jeremy Tatum writes: I went to Cordova Spit this morning to see if I could see the Western Branded Skippers reported by David Robichaud (see yesterday’s posting).  I walked from Island View Beach, through the Indian reserve, and I spent two hours on the spit systematically quartering it to and fro – and I saw not a single butterfly of any species!



   Devon Parker writes:   These are the butterflies I saw in my backyard today near Goldstream Campground.

3 Woodland Skippers
1 Cedar Hairstreak – with damaged wings
1 Grey Hairstreak

 Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Devon Parker

August 3

2015 August 3


   Jeremy Tatum visited Mount Tolmie at 6:00 pm on August 2 and found 1 Red Admiral on the reservoir, and 1 Painted Lady near the Jeffrey Pine.


  Devon Parker writes:  I was up on the San Juan Ridge again and found six species of butterflies today near the same area as last time [see July 18 posting], including three species not seen before on the San Juan Ridge.

2 Oreas Comma Polygonia oreas.
3 Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta nectaring on Pearly Everlasting.
3 Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini.
5 Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe nectaring on Pearly Everlasting.
3 Mariposa Copper Lycaena mariposa nectaring on Pearly Everlasting.
1 Sylvan Hairstreak Satyrium sylvinum.


   Fritillaries are notoriously difficult to identify from upperside alone.  Devon believes the ones he saw are probably hydaspe, but he will try and photograph the underside next time he goes there.  We wish him luck.


Sylvan Hairstreak Satyrium sylvinum (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Devon Parker

 Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Devon Parker


Hydaspe Fritillary  Speyeria hydaspe (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Devon Parker



   Annie Pang sends a picture of a European Paper Wasp



European Paper Wasp  Polistes dominula (Hym.: Vespidae)  Annie Pang



   David Robichaud writes:   I thought folks would want to know [yes we would! – Jeremy] that the Western Branded Skippers are flying at Cordova (Saanichton) Spit right now (Aug 3), and looking fresh.  I hadn’t checked there until today, so I can’t say when they started to emerge.  I saw more than a dozen in about 1.5 hours of wandering around.  There were also a few Woodland Skippers interspersed, just to make things interesting.  I’ve attached a photo.


   Jeremy Tatum comments.  Some taxonomists split the branded skippers into a Common Branded Skipper  Hesperia comma (Holarctic distribution – called Silver -spotted Skipper in the UK) and the newly-split Western Branded Skipper H. colorado.  Both are supposed to occur on Vancouver Island, but the Cordova Bay ones are supposed to be colorado.  Perhaps a lot more observations are called for!   I wish I could find the caterpillar.


 Western Branded Skipper  Hesperia colorado  (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  David Robichaud


    Aziza Cooper writes:  Today I found two Purplish Coppers at the pump house on the east side of Martindale valley, just north of Martindale Road. They were mostly nectaring on daisies. At least 50 Cabbage Whites were also there.



Female Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper




   And now for two fearsome flies.  Harmless to humans, but not to other insects!  The first is identified by Jeff Skevington as Villa sp., a species of bee fly.  It was photographed by Aziza Cooper during yesterday’s outing to the Kinsol trestle. The second, which came into my (Jeremy Tatum) living room today to frighten me, is identified by Rob Cannings as Laphria ventralis,  a species of robber fly.  Thanks to these experts for helping us out.


Villa sp. (Dip.: Bombyliidae)  Aziza Cooper



Laphria ventralis (Dip.: Asilidae)  Jeremy Tatum


August 2

2015 August 2


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Today seven people took a walk to the Kinsol Trestle to look for butterflies. We all agreed that in the right season, it could be an excellent place, but today we saw only four species:


Woodland Skipper – 10

Cabbage White – 3

Lorquin’s Admiral – 1

comma sp. – 1


The trestle is very impressive, towering above the river. It was a hot day for a walk. We saw many dragonflies and a few other interesting insects. I’ll look forward to returning there sometime next spring.





   Here is a dragonfly and a wasp that Aziza photographed during the butterfly walk.  She also photographed an interesting fly – and we are working on its identification before we post it!


Striped Meadowhawk Sympetrum pallipes (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Aziza Cooper


European Paper Wasp Polistes dominula (Hym.: Vespidae)  Aziza Cooper



   Gordon Hart writes:  Here at home in the Highlands on August 1 the same butterflies as earlier in the week are still present , including the Cedar Hairstreak. I saw what I think was a very large Dobsonfly (Corydalinae) , but it landed out of range so I was unable to get a picture. I did manage a picture of a very nice Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis, with green eyes.

Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Gordon Hart

   Aziza Cooper photographed a brown Yellow Woolly Bear  at Tod Creek Flats, July 31.


Yellow Woolly Bear Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Aziza Cooper



   Annie Pang photographed a White-faced Hornet (also known as Bald-faced Hornet) on August 1. 


White-faced Hornet Dolichovespula maculata (Hym.: Vespidae)  Annie Pang



   Rosemary Jorna sends a photograph of an unknown noctuid caterpillar feeding on roses in a garden near Kemp Lake. August 1.


Unknown caterpillar (Lep: Noctuidae)  Rosemary Jorna




August 1

2015 August 1


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  In yesterday’s (July 31) posting we posted details of the August monthly butterfly walk, which is to be to the Kinsol Trestle.  We dutifully posted where to meet (at the top of Mount Tolmie), and at what time (noon), but I have just realized that we omitted one minor detail – the date!  It is to be Sunday August 2.  Apologies for that, but we hope to see you anyway. All welcome.  Other details in the July 31 posting (just scroll down a few inches).


   The flowerheads of umbelliferous plants – such as Wild Carrot (“Queen Anne’s Lace”) and others are at present attracting lots of interesting bees, wasps and flies.  All you have to do is to set up your camera, on a tripod if you have one, focussed on an umbelliferous flower, and photograph each insect as it comes.  The one snag is going to be identification.  I’m not particularly knowledgeable on those groups, so we’ll need some help with identification.


  I’m slightly more knowledgeable about caterpillars – so here’s a nice one from Panama Flats today:


Acronycta dactylina (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum



  Apologies to contributors for posting this so early in the day, before you have had a chance to submit your today’s photos – but I had to get that notice about the date of the Butterfly Walk posted a.s.a.p.

July 31

2015 July 31


Monthly Butterfly Walk


Aziza Cooper writes: 

Hello, butterfly watchers,


For the August Butterfly Walk I’d like to suggest that we meet at the top of Mount Tolmie at noon instead of 1pm, and then go to Kinsol Trestle, near Shawnigan Lake. It’s the August long weekend, so it will be a good holiday outing and a chance of more variety in butterflies than we are likely to find in Victoria. As always, the walk is dependent on good weather and will be cancelled if the weather is cold or raining.


Jeremy Tatum’s list of butterflies sighted in past years include Hydaspe Fritilliary, Clodius Parnassian, Dun Skipper and Western Tailed Blue.


I’d like to meet at noon instead of 1pm to allow for the driving time which will be about an hour.


Here are the directions:


From Victoria:  From the Trans Canada Highway turn west onto Mill Bay/Shawnigan Lake Road and go all the way into the Village of Shawnigan Lake. Turn right onto Shawnigan Lake Road and follow it until it turns into Renfrew Road. Follow Renfrew road past the end of the Lake to Gleneagles Road and turn right. There is a public parking area about 550 metres down the road on the right hand side. Park here and walk to the Trestle on the Cowichan Valley Trail which is approximately 1.2 km in distance.


Here’s a link to the website:


Comments/questions: tanageraz AT, or phone me at 250-516-7703.



Aziza Cooper



   Rosemary Jorna writes:  This water beetle is over 3 cm in size. It was in the Phillips’
garden pond near Kemp Lake; they caught it when looking for pond life to
show tonight at the Sooke Children’s Garden Club.


   Scott Gilmore identifies it for us as a female Predacious Diving Beetle of the genus Dytiscus.

 Dytiscus sp. (Col.: Dytiscidae)         Rosemary Jorna


Dytiscus sp. (Col.: Dytiscidae)         Rosemary Jorna



    Jeremy Tatum writes:  We have had some, but only a very, very few, aquatic animals on this site. There is a whole world of invertebrates out there in rivers and ponds just waiting to be watched and photographed. There will be technical difficulties to overcome, which will be a challenge to photographers, but it will be wonderful to see more of these aquatic creatures.


   This site was originally intended for terrestrial invertebrates, which certainly includes pond life, though I notice that the current heading at the top of the site does not include the work “terrestrial”.   We’ll have to restore that!  Occasionally I have received photographs of animals that don’t come into this category, and I have reluctantly not posted them.  Recently I received some excellent photographs of seashore invertebrates.  This raises the question: When naturalists take photographs of things other than terrestrial invertebrates, where can they be posted so that other naturalists can enjoy them, and so that the photographer gets some appreciation for his/her work?  SUGGESTIONS PLEASE.


   Would anyone like, for example, to set up a website, similar to this one, but covering, for example, seashore life?  It’s great fun doing it. If you are not a computer expert (as I’m not) and have no idea how to set up a website (as I haven’t) there are computer exerts around who would be happy to set up a site, so that all you have to do is to receive photographs as they are sent in, and paste it into the website, which is routine after you have been shown how to do it and have done it once or twice.  Please let us hear some suggestions, and perhaps even volunteer to run a seashore website.  We have some seashore photos from contributors right now, and we don’t want them just to disappear!