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.

March 22

2020 March 22


  Jeremy Tatum writes: This moth was at my Saanich apartment building this morning.


Probably Egira curialis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Gordon Hart photographed this mining bee in the Highlands area yesterday.


Mining Bee  Andrena (Hym.: Andrenidae)  Gordon Hart



March 21 evening

2020 March 21 evening


   Gordon Hart writes:   We got home from a walk in the early afternoon, March 20, and a Satyr Comma was on the Heather.  And  I finally photographed a California Tortoiseshell on some Pieris.   [Jeremy Tatum remarks:  In case anyone is wondering, Gordon is referring to a common garden shrub (Ericaceae) which bears the genus name Pieris – not closely related to the Cabbage White butterfly, which is also Pieris!]


Jeff Gaskin writes:  March 20, Kirsten Mills and I found no fewer than 3 California Tortoiseshells by the concrete reservoir on Mount Tolmie, and there may even have been 4 there.


Ron Flower writes:  today Saturday 21st. we went to the Goldstream River around noon and saw 4 individual commas. I think Satyr but not sure.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I’m not sure either!   I’ll label them just comma for the moment, but I’ll try and be more definite tomorrow (March 22).  Ron continues:  We also saw two Mourning Cloaks there.

Added on March 22:  Gordon Hart writes, concerning the commas: They are rather hard to tell, but I think they are satyrus. Green Commas are smaller and darker overall, so often a bit easier to distinguish in life. Even though the light spots are on the dark marginal band, they are usually darker and more distinct in P. faunus.


Comma Polygonia (probably satyrus).  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

Comma Polygonia (probably satyrus)  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Today I went to Swan Lake, Blenkinsop Lake and Mount Tolmie, and I still haven’t seen my first butterfly of the year!



March 21 morning

2020 March 21 morning


   Jochen Möhr’s haul from Metchosin this morning:


1 Enchoria lacteata (There were many, but only one I got a picture of.  No pictures yet of Epirrhoe plebeculata, even though they are even more abundant than Enchoria lacteata.

4 Eupithecia spp.

1 Eupithecia ravcostaliata/nevadata

1 Feralia deceptiva

7 Hydriomena manzanita

2 Orthosia hibisci

3 Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli


Feralia deceptiva (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Orthosia hibisci (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Enchoria lacteata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

March 20 afternoon

2020 March 20 afternoon


   Jochen Möhr had a good bunch of several different hard-to-identify brown and grey noctuids at his Metchosin home this morning.  Several were of the genus Orthosia.  Sometimes these are not especially hard, but we (that is Libby Avis, Jochen, and Jeremy Tatum) are finding some of this morning’s batch a challenge.  The several contesters are O. hibisci, O. praeses, O. pacifica and O. pulchella.  In Britain the genus Orthosia are known as “drabs”.  Now pulchella is Latin for little beautiful one – so what shall we call O. pulchella?  The Beautiful Drab Moth?  The labels I have given for the two Orthosias below are our best tries – but we could be wrong!


Probably Orthosia hibisci (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Probably Orthosia pulchella (Lep.: Noctuidae)

Jochen Möhr


Cerastis enigmatica (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Lithophane petulca (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Hydriomena manzanita (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr


    Jeremy Tatum writes:  I went to Munn Road today – the yellow gate and transformer station area.  I saw one Mesoleuca gratulata  and several Epirrhoe plebeculata, but they wouldn’t lay any eggs for me. 
M. gratulata uses Rubus, but I don’t know the larval foodplant for E. plebeculata.  I am sure if several of us made a determined effort this spring to see plebeculata ovipositing, we’d find an egg, which I’d try to rear to adulthood.

March 20 morning

2020 March 20 morning


   Gordon Hart sends a photograph from Highlands of Enchoria lacteata – another of the pretty day-flying geometrids to be seen at this time of year.


Enchoria lacteata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Gordon Hart

   Kirsten Mills writes:  Today, March 19, at 4pm I saw 2 California Tortoiseshells on the summit of Mount Tolmie. Also I a butterfly flew by me that I think was a Mourning Cloak.


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Kirsten Mills