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 24 evening

2020 June 24 evening


   Jochen Möhr’s moths from this morning:


1 Callizzia amorata

1 Perizoma costiguttata

1 Pero sp.

2 Tyria jacobaeae


   No photographs of these.  Jochen says that a Dark-eyed Junco has discovered and taken an interest in the moths that gather at his light, and the junco’s interest in them is not photography.


   Jochen  also photographed one of the Pholcus  spiders that has reappeared (see the June 8 movie of Don Giovanni seducing Zerlina), as well as a young offspring saying its first hello to the world.


Pholcus phalangioides (Ara.: Pholcidae)  Jochen Möhr


Young Pholcus phalangioides (Ara.: Pholcidae)  Jochen Möhr


   Jeff Gaskin writes:


   I found a California Tortoiseshell today and it was in spectacular condition.  This was in the Colquitz River Park near Lindsay Street.  Also found on the Colquitz River trail from Roy Road to Lindsay Street were 6 Cabbage Whites, 1 European (Essex) Skipper, 10 Lorquin’s Admirals,  and 2 Western Tiger Swallowtails.

    At Panama Hill Park were a further 46 European Skippers,  and 4 Lorquin’s Admirals.

   At Layritz Park I saw 11 European  Skippers,  and 12 Ringlets (Coenonympha tullia).  Another Ringlet was by Markham Road.



June 24 morning

2020 June 24 morning


   Because of a computer glitch, only just discovered, the June 23 entry was not posted yesterday.   I have just posted it now, so you’ll find it beneath this June 24 morning posting.  Not to be missed!


   Rosemary Jorna photographed this fly in the Kemp Lake area, June.   Dr Rob Cannings writes:  It is an asilid,…. a common western species (even in city gardens) called Eudioctria sackeni. Males and females are coloured somewhat differently and, in addition, it comes in a couple of colour morphs, so its appearance can be confusing.


Robber fly Eudioctria sackeni (Dip.: Asilidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   Mr E sends photographs of two beetles, kindly identified for us by Scott Gilmore:


Long-horned beetle Phymatodes sp. (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Mr E



Darkling beetle Eleodes sp. (Col.: Tenebrionidae)  Mr E


   Mr E also photographed – something!  So far, we are fairly sure that it is Kingdom Animalia, but beyond that we are a little less certain.  However, we think it is probably a beetle grub, Order Coleoptera.  Any advance on that, anyone?


Beetle grub?   Mr E


   Richard Rycraft sends a picture of a moth from Oak Bay.  Libby Avis and Jeremy Tatum agree that it is an unusually dark specimen of Noctua pronuba – clinched when Richard recalled that he saw a flash of orange when the moth flew.  This is almost as dark a specimen as Val George’s of June 18, also from Oak Bay. Two specimens from Victoria, May 25 and May 31, were unusually pale.  In this a difference between municipalities?!


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae) Richard Rycraft


   Jeremy Tatum shows a chrysalis (Greek Chrysos = gold) of a Painted Lady:


Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  This morning I found a California Tortoiseshell having a sleep behind my living-room curtain – which is where traditionally one is supposed to find hibernating nymphalids during the winer months.  I managed to persuade it to walk sleepily on to a stick, where I photographed its underside.  It looked so peacefully asleep that I didn’t disturb it to attempt an upperside. I took it out to Playfair Park, Cumberland Road, Saanich, where we hope it will wake up when the Sun comes out and it should find some nectar sources there.


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum

June 23

2020 June 23


   Val George writes: Yesterday, June22, I went to Nanaimo River Road to find some Clodius Parnassians.  I saw three in the section of the road between 10 km and 15 km from the highway.  My main reason for the trip was to do some photography because I’ve never managed to get a decent photo of this species.  The attachment proves “mission accomplished”.


  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I’ll say it does!   Notice that there is no sign of checkering on the antennae.  This makes us think that maybe Ron Flower’s parnassian shown on May 27 afternoon might well have been Parnassius smintheus.  We’d welcome opinions (with reasons!).


Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Val George


   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of Cucullia montanae.  You can see the “hood”  (Latin = cucullus) over the head of this one.  The caterpillar is often seen on the flowers of Grindelia at Island View Beach, although this one was found last year at Swan Lake, where the newly-emerged moth was released today.


Cucullia montanae (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:


1 Eupithecia sp.

2 Pero sp.

5 Tyria jacobaeae

1 Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli

and the remains of 1 Panthea virginarius


Pero (perhaps morrisonaria) (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr



   Rosemary sends a picture of a bumblebee from the Kemp Lake area.


Bombus mixtus (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna


  Other difficult photos submitted today awaiting identification!  Will be posted sometime!




June 22 afternoon

2020 June 22 afternoon


   Gordon Hart writes from the Highlands:  Yesterday, June 21, I saw a fresh Lorquin’s Admiral here. I also saw a worn Western Spring Azure and two worn Cedar Hairstreaks. There were also a few dragonflies: some large darners, and a female Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis.


Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Gordon Hart


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


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I saw a Lorquin’s Admiral at UVic this afternoon.

June 22 morning

2020 June 22 morning


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Swallowtails may be scarce this year, but we know that there will be at least one next year, because I found this young caterpillar along Munn Road yesterday. Usually they are on willow, but this one is on Ocean Spray.


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

     We thank Lincoln Best for his many identifications of bees over the years.   Although we have temporarily lost his services during the corona virus outbreak, we hope, in better times, to lure him back again.  In the meantime we thank our Annie Pang for working hard to identify bees for us.   Annie writes: All of these identifications are “maybes” because I have no one to confirm them or correct them. If you get another opinion I would appreciate knowing what it is. [Jeremy  Tatum adds:  This is always true of all Invert Alert postings – if you think we may have got one wrong, please do let us know –  jtatum at uvic dot ca].   Rosemary Jorna recently sent us a bunch of bee photographs from the Kemp Lake area:


Bombus fervidus (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Bombus melanopygus or flavifrons (Hym.: Apidae) Rosemary Jorna

Possibly Lasioglossum sp. (Hym.: Halictidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Bombus vosnesenskii (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Apis mellifera (Hym.: Apidae)  Rosemary Jorna

   Rosemary also photographed two spiders.  As with other groups, the corona virus is keeping experts away from their offices, laboratories and libraries, so we have to temporarily limit identification to Family level:


Ara.: Salticidae    Rosemary Jorna

Ara.: Theridiidae    Rosemary Jorna

   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Yesterday,  June 21, I found a Red Admiral along the Galloping Goose trail near Ravine Way which is just south of Swan Lake and near the Saanich Municipal Hall.


Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:


1 Callizzia amorata

2 perhaps Eudonia commortalis 

1 Perhaps Hydriomena marinata 

1 Paonias excaecata

1 Protitame subalbaria 


Hydriomena marinata/californiata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Paonias excaecata (Lep.: Sphingidae)  Jochen Möhr