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 7

2019 August 7


   Jeremy Tatum writes:   Ted Dobie’s caterpillar of Orgyia pseudotsugata, shown on July 21, and again when full grown in close-up on August 1 afternoon, has now pupated in a silken cocoon, incorporating some of the larval hairs.  The adult moth will probably eclode in a couple of weeks.

Orgyia pseudotsugata (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jeremy continues:  This morning I visited the Nature Houses at Swan Lake and in Goldstream Park, and I found one moth at each.  This one at Swan Lake:

Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum


…and this one at Goldstream Park, confirmed by Libby Avis as a Peppered Moth Biston betulariaAfter millions of years of Darwinian evolution by variation and natural selection, this one seems to have evolved perfect cryptic coloration for a concrete background!

 Biston betularia (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum


     Two photographs of a Silver-spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa argentata by Bill McMillan:

Lophocampa argentata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Bill McMillan


Lophocampa argentata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Bill McMillan


   A miscellany from Cheryl Hoyle:

Honey Bee Apis mellifera (Hym.: Apidae)  Cheryl Hoyle

Harmonia axyridis (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Cheryl Hoyle

Eristalinus aeneus (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Cheryl Hoyle


Jochen Möhr’s moths in Metchosin this morning:

1 Campaea perlata

1 Eulithis xylina

4 Perizoma curvilinea 

1 Nemoria darwiniata


He writes: Pine Whites are now regularly fluttering up here at 160 to 200 m above sea level.


August 6

2019 August 6


The Herald Moth is supposed to have a strong proboscis, which can pierce the skins of ripening fruits.  This one, photographed by Gordon Hart yesterday in his Highlands yard, is demonstrating its skills on a yellow plum.

Herald Moth Scoliopteryx libatrix (Lep.: Erebidae – Scoliopteryginae)  Gordon Hart



   Mike Yip writes from Nanoose:  I encountered some extra-curricular activity in my yard this morning with the Common Woodnymphs. They have been flying locally for about three weeks and are easy to find in the Garry Oak meadows around Nanoose Bay. Mylitta Crescents are also in flight again. The Dun Skipper was seen on the logging road near Rhodo Lake two weeks ago, as was the Branded Skipper (Common or Western?) at Whiskey Creek. The moth was photographed at Long Beach and was determined by Libby Avis as Euxoa sp.  (Possibly E. olivia?)

Common Woodnymphs Cercyonis pegala (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)  Mike Yip

Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip

Note the slight concavity of the forewing outer margin, characteristic of the species.

Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip

The white spots indicate that this is a female.

Branded Skipper Hesperia comma (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip

Some “splitters” will divide this skipper into Common Branded Skipper H. comma, and Western Branded Skipper H. colorado.  On this site I treat them as a single species, H. comma.    Jeremy Tatum




Euxoa sp. (possibly olivia ?) (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Mike Yip


Jochen Möhr’s moths in Metchosin this morning:

1 Amorbia cuneanum

1 Callizzia amorata

1 Eulithis xylina

1 Evergestis funalis

2 Lacinipolia strigicollis

2 Lophocampa argentata

1 Abagrotis apposita

1 Panthea virginarius

1 Pyrausta perrubralis 

Evergestis funalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr

Abagrotis apposita (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

Pyrausta perrubralis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr

Pyrausta perrubralis (Lep.: Crambidae) and Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisidae)  Jochen Möhr

  Kalene Lillico photographed this nice kitten moth outside the door of the Swan Lake Nature House this morning, August 6:

Furcula scolopendrina (Lep.: Notodontidae)  Kalene Lillico


August 5 afternoon

2019 August 5 afternoon


    Thanks to Scott Gilmore and Libby Avis for pointing out my misidentification of the moth seen in yesterday’s Butterfly Walk.  See this morning posting, where I now have the correct label.  Apologies to viewers and especially to the photographers.  It is not a footman moth, but a scape moth – same family, subfamily and tribe, but different subtribe!


   Jochen Möhr’s moths in Metchosin this morning:


2 Campaea perlata

1 Clemensia umbrata

1 Dasychira grisefacta

2 Drepanulatrix sp.

2 Enypia packardata 

1 Hesperumia sulphuraria

1 Lacinipolia strigicollis 

6 Lophocampa argentata

2 Nemoria darwiniata

1 Neoalcis californiaria 

2 Oligia divesta

3 Panthaea virginarius

3 Perizoma curvilinea

3 Pero mizon

1 Schizura (ipomoeae?)


Thank you, as ever, to Libby Avis for the identifications.


Enypia packardata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Oligia divesta (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Lacinipolia pensilis (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Sabulodes aegrotata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Evergestis funalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jochen Möhr


  If this morning’s posting was rated PG (the coppers!), this afternoon’s posting is decidedly rated  X.  If you are of a nervous disposition don’t look at the next photograph, one of several insects and spiders photographed by Sean McCann at Island View Beach yesterday.  The robber fly was Identified almost simultaneously by Sean and by Rob Cannings.  The rest by Sean.


Robber fly Stenopogon bradleyi (Dip.: Asilidae)  Sean McCann


Robber fly Stenopogon bradleyi (Dip.: Asilidae)  Sean McCann



Wolf spider Pardosa distincta (Ara.: Lycosidae)  Sean McCann



Wolf spider Pardosa distincta (Ara.: Lycosidae)  Sean McCann


Ants Tapinoma sessile (Hym.: Formicidae)  Sean McCann


Western Black Widow Latrodectus hesperus (Ara.: Theridiidae)  Sean McCann


Western Black Widow Latrodectus hesperus (Ara.: Theridiidae)  Sean McCann


That’s all I can manage today!…










August 5 morning


2019 August 5 morning


   Sorry there was no August 4 posting – not enough hours in the day to get everything done!

  In the meantime we have made some good progress in the identification of an unknown fly and an unknown beetle in the August 2 afternoon posting (quod vide).

   August 4, Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:  When my dog woke me up at 6 am, there were the proverbial  “oodles” of moths – 5 Lophocampa argentata , 3 Panthea virginarius, 4 Perizoma curvilinea, and many many others including probably two dozen micros of several kinds.  But at that time it was dark and I was still tired.  When I got up at 8, everybody was gone.  Just a Nemoria darwiniata and a Campaea perlata were still there, the latter sometimes fluttering about.  Very unusual, because often they kept sitting there all day.

 Then I observed something, which might provide an explanation: A wasp had grabbed the C. perlata and was butchering it while it was still very much alive.  First it took the wings on one side off, then on the other, then it carried the body off.  There was a lot of struggling and movement, so my attempts at documenting it were not very successful.  But I attach one picture that I have.

Vespula pensylvanica (Hym.: Vespidae)  Jochen Möhr

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Jody Wells photographed this fly sucking mud at Tod Creek Flats on August 3.  I didn’t take long to identify it because I knew immediately that it was a tabanid.  I am literally quite terrified of tabanids and I felt that fear the instant that I saw the photograph.  After that, because of its distinctive colour, it didn’t take long to track it down.

Tabanus punctifer (Dip.: Tabanidae) Jody Wells


Aziza Cooper writes:


On Sunday, August 4, nine people went to Mount Tolmie and Island View Beach for the monthly VNHS Butterfly Walk. We found nine species of butterflies. Two were seen only on Mount Tolmie.

Painted Lady – 4

Vancouver Island Ringlet – 18

Purplish Copper – 6

Lorquin’s Admiral – 2

Anise Swallowtail – 1 (at Mount Tolmie)

Western Tiger Swallowtail – 1 (at Mount Tolmie)

Cabbage White – 10

Essex Skipper – 1

Woodland Skipper – 1


Here are some of the butterflies seen:

Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon (Lep.: Papilionidae) Aziza Cooper



Painted Lady Vanessa cardui Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper



Ringlet Coenonympha tullia (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae) Aziza Cooper


Purplish Coppers Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper

Purplish Coppers Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Gordon Hart


   Also seen during the walk was an interesting Yellow-collared Scape moth of the tribe Lithosiini.

Cisseps fulvicollis (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae – Lithosiini) Aziza Cooper

Cisseps fulvicollis (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae – Lithosiini)  Gordon Hart

   And we found this caterpillar of Heliothis phnloxiphaga on Gumweed.

Heliothis phloxiphaga (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Val George


   While on the Butterfly Walk at Island View Beach we missed seeing entomologist Sean McCann, who was also there, and who has sent us a bunch of photographs.  We’ll put these up on the next posting – probably this afternoon or evening!

   One more for this posting – an interesting observation from Annie Pang, who writes: I was looking for Pine Whites at Esquimalt Gorge Park on August 4 with my camera
buddy when I had this very banged up Cedar Hairstreak land on the
Goldenrod nearby briefly.  I only had time for a few shots before it
vanished.  I’m very confused about seeing it at all as I’d thought it was an
early spring butterfly.  Does it have two flights here??

Jeremy Tatum writes:  Well, does it?   It certainly seemed to have two flights in 2015.  See the 2015 Butterfly Report, posted on 2016 January 26 (currently on page 192, though this, of course, increases with time).  I haven’t looked up Reports for other years (task for someone?), though I don’t think there are many other August sightings other than 2015. Is Annie’s “banged-up” butterfly a second generation, or a survivor from a spring generation?

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Annie Pang




August 3 afternoon

2019 August 3

   Jeff Gaskin writes:   Today, August 3, in Esquimalt Gorge Park I found five species of butterflies in the park.  This park is always pretty good in late July and a part of August, particularly around the flower beds.  I found the following species  :  4 Cabbage Whites, 2 Lorquin’s Admirals, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Pine White, and 14 Woodland Skippers.

Yesterday, August 2, Kirsten Mills told me she saw a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell along Westshore Parkway in Langford.