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.

2019 June 16

2019 June 16


   Cheryl Hoyle sends a photograph of a snakefly from Saanich.   A close-up of the top of the head of a snakefly is often helpful in the identification.  Although we cannot be certain of the exact identity of this individual, it is very likely in  the Family Raphidiidae, probably genus Agulla, and maybe A. assimilis.


Snakefly.   Possibly Agulla assimilis (Raph.: Raphidiidae)  Cheryl Hoyle


   Rosemary Jorna writes:  Fire hazard already closed the gate at Mount Prévost, so we parked and walked up to the first side road anyway. We were rewarded with 3 Clodius Parnassian butterflies. Two of them permitted photographs, which I have included. There were 4 Pale Tiger Swallowtails along the road who refused to be photographed.


Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   Rosemary continues:  The June 15 VNHS outing to the Cowichan River Estuary, Providence Farm and Mount Prévost met Western Tiger Swallowtails steadily along the way   –  10 to 12.  There were fresh  Lorquin’s Admirals flying along the whole route – 18 to 20 during the day. At the Cowichan River Estuary there were five or six Essex Skippers:

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Rosemary Jorna





June 15 morning

2019 June 15 morning


   Gordon Hart writes:

Hello Butterfly Counters,

Time flies, and it is time for the June Butterfly Count, starting Saturday, June 15,  running until next Sunday, June 23. You can submit a count anytime over this period, and you can do more than one count, just use a separate form for each count. In the case of repeat counts, or more than one person counting an area, I will take the highest count for each species.

Please use the form at on the Victoria Natural History Society website .

The count area is the same as the Christmas Bird Count circle. For butterfly identification there are numerous internet sites, but most or all Victoria species are listed on E-Fauna. If you select by photographer, all the photos under James Miskelly’s name are of Victoria species. Here is the link:,%20james&specrep=0

If you would like a suggestion for an area to count, please send me an email.

In addition to the counts, a monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month – the next walk will be on July 7. We start at the summit of Mount Tolmie at 1pm, and decide where to go from there. I will send out another reminder the week before.

Thank-you for submitting your sightings and happy counting!

Gordon Hart,

Butterfly Count Coordinator,

Victoria Natural History Society

   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of the moth Alucita montana, reared from tiny pink caterpillars feeding on the flowers of Snowberry.

Alucita montana (Lep.: Alucitidae)  Jeremy Tatum


June 14


   Marie O’Shaughnessy writes:  Yesterday I was walking in Uplands Park between 9-10am, Thursday June 13th, and there appeared to be many butterflies because of the warmth at that hour. A light breeze was blowing.  I saw at least two more of the Sheep Moths I had seen a week ago. Much paler coloration this time and lacking those lovely pink hues. I also saw several Lorquin’s Admirals, Western Tiger Swallowtails and Painted Ladies. There were only a few Cabbage Whites in comparison with the other numbers of butterflies.

Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy


  Gordon Hart sends photographs of two California Darner dragonflies from his Highlands property.  We thank Rob Cannings for confirming their identification.  One of the dragonflies is in process of eating a pentatomid bug.  Gordon sends some rather gruesome details of this – too gruesome, I think, for the delicate sensibilities of readers of this site.   Rob writes:  Both are Rhionaeschna californica. The first (lateral view, eating the bug) is a female; the other is a male. The female shows the typical rather straight lateral thoracic stripes, somewhat more slanted towards the rear than in most darners. Note the black borders to these stripes, especially on the back edge.  The stripes on the front of the thorax usually seen in other species are absent (best seen in the male individual here).

Female California Darner Rhionaeschna californica (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Gordon Hart

Male California Darner Rhionaeschna californica (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Gordon Hart

    Jeremy Tatum sends photographs of four moths:  Aseptis binotata  from Blenkinsop Lake;  Sicya croceata also from Blenkinsop Lake;  Dysstroma citrata  from Goldstream Park: and Yponomeuta malinellus  from Swan Lake.

Aseptis binotata (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum

Sicya crocearia (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

Dysstroma citrata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

Yponomeuta malinellus  (Lep.: Yponomeutidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I was at McIntyre reservoir (Central Saanich) this afternoon.  There is an absolutely huge crop of Teasel there, but not yet in flower and hence not yet of interest to butterflies.  Provided the Teasel is not cut down, there will probably be lots of butterflies there in a couple of weeks or so.  There was lots of Wild Radish in flower, and 50 or so Cabbage Whites nectaring on it, as well as two Painted Ladies.

   At 6:30 this evening there were about half-a-dozen Painted Ladies near the summit of Mount Tolmie.  There was one Lady basking on the concrete reservoir, and even though I had a prolonged good look at it, and it was a fresh, well-marked specimen, I couldn’t tell for sure which Lady it was.  Well, you will be asking, what about the apical patch?  Was it white or orange?  Was it blunt or pointed?  Sorry, I can’t tell you, because there was no apical patch!  In the end I think it was probably an aberrant Painted Lady, because I couldn’t see any of the particular features that I look for in the other Ladies.  If it stays there for a few days, perhaps someone might get a photograph of it.



June 13 evening

2019 June 13 evening


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today, June 13, in Beacon Hill Park I saw at least 10 Western Tiger Swallowtails and 1 Lorquin’s Admiral.


   Gordon Hart writes from the Highlands:  Giant sawflies have appeared again on the same blueberry bushes as in previous years. They perch near the top and make short sallies from there, presumably looking for a mate. They appear to have powerful jaws but I can’t find information on what the adults eat. [Good question!  I’m not sure either.  Any ideas, anyone?  Jeremy]. 


Trichiosoma triangulum (Hym.: Cimbicidae)  Gordon Hart.


   Gordon continues:  On June 11, we saw the first Sphinx perelegans of the year coming to the petunias at sunset. This is earlier than other years and they should continue through July.  I have not obtained a photo yet this year. We still have up to six species of butterfly most days, but not large numbers: Cedar Hairstreak, Cabbage White, Lorquin’s Admiral, Pale and Western Tiger Swallowtails, and on June 10, a Green Comma




June 13 morning

2019 June 13 morning


   Val George writes:  Yesterday morning, June 12, I did a very short walk in Uplands Park during which I saw three Sheep Moths Hemileuca eglanterina.  I also found this pupa of a White Satin Moth Leucoma salicis.  The other pupa is a Cabbage White, which was on my kale in my Oak Bay garden.  In the last few days I’ve seen several adult Cabbage Whites that have just emerged from their pupae.


Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Val George


White Satin Moth Leucoma salicis (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Val George


Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Val George


 Rosemary Jorna writes:  In our yard (Kemp Lake area), but far away, a Lorquin’s Admiral.


Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:  This morning there were just two Tortricidia testacea and one very pale Hydriomena of which I attach a picture.   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yes, I agree, it’s a highflyer (Hydriomena sp.), but it’s quite a worn specimen, and it would be a brave person to identify it.  If it were February, I’d guess at H. nubilofasciata, but I don’t know if any would last until June, even though this one is worn.  Otherwise H. irata, californiata, expurgata… all look like possibilities.  Let’s just leave it as Hydriomena sp.


Hydriomena sp. (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr