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.

May 19

2015 May 19


   Jeremy Tatum sends photographs of two caterpillars.  The first from Panama Flats yesterday.  The second from Blenkinsop Lake today.


Orthosia hibisci (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum

Zotheca tranquilla (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Nathan Fisk writes:  West Coast Lady?  Fort Rodd Hill last Friday afternoon (May 15), 4-ish.    Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yes!



West Coast Lady Vanessa annabella (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Nathan Fisk


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  A Red Admiral and a Mourning Cloak from Lochside Drive between Blenkinsop Lake and Lohbrunner’s this afternoon.  I also went to the Mount Tolmie reservoir at about 3:00 pm, but there were no hill-topping nymphalids there.  Too early in the afternoon.  I bet there’ll be lots of them there at 5:00 pm.  There were two Western Tiger Swallowtails flying around the periphery at 3:00.


May 18

2015 May 18


   Cynthia Brossard writes:  Haven’t seen one of these beautiful creatures in forever.  It is on the front steps of my house by Langford Lake.

Polyphemus Moth Antheraea polyphemus (Lep.: Saturniidae) Cynthia Brossard


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Two dark males and one paler female Cedar Hairstreak seen on Sunday at the railroad tracks near the Goldstream campground.

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Aziza Cooper

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Aziza Cooper

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Aziza Cooper



   Aziza writes: I saw a single Silvery Blue on Sunday afternoon along the Galloping Goose trail. It was at a lupin patch near the Colwood exit, where Craigflower meets Sooke Road. Easiest access is to park at the east end of Atkins Road and walk east for 1/2 block.

Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper

Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  It seems to be a good weekend for lycaenids.  Yesterday I saw one each of Western Brown Elfin, Moss’s Elfin and Grey Hairstreak along the Pathfinder trail at Munn Road, and of course several Western Spring Azures.  And today, Monday May 18, there are still hilltopping nymphalids on the Mount Tolmie reservoir in the late afternoon – Mourning Cloak, Painted Lady, West Coast Lady.

May 17

2015 May 17


   Mike Yip writes (May 16):  I was hoping for a duskywing, but I was deceived several times by a dark brown day-flying moth today on the road to Rhodo Lake (Nanoose Bay).


   Jeremy Tatum remarks:  Well that is precisely what is supposed to happen!  According to Powell and Opler: “In flight the adults could be confused with adult duskywing skipper butterflies”.  


 Euclidia ardita (Lep.: Erebidae – Erebinae)  Mik Yip



  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a Cerisy’s Eyed Hawk Moth from my Saanich apartment, May 16:


Cerisy’s Eyed Hawk Moth Smerinthis cerisyi (Lep.: Sphingidae) Jeremy Tatum



   Jeremy continues:  Although we have had a great variety of creatures on this site, so far we have had very few aquatic animals, so here’s a challenge for photographers (not to say for identifiers!)  I had my first (poor!) try at photographing aquatic insects yesterday.  They were incessantly active and just would not stay still.  I eventually got some poor shots of a couple of damselflies and a beetle from Beaver Lake Ponds. 


Damselfly nymph Lestes sp. (Odo.: Lestidae) Jeremy Tatum


Damselfly nymph probably  Ischnura sp. (Odo.: Coenagrionidae) Jeremy Tatum


    Rob Cannings writes:  Both larvae are quite young (wing sheaths hardly developed). I assume they are all local? The first larva is in the genus Lestes, but I can’t tell which species from the photo. Lateral views of the gills and ventral views of the labium help, but in general, most damselfly and dragonfly larvae are awfully hard to identify to species from photos. The second species is in the family Coenagrionidae, and I’m guessing it may be Ischnura cervula, but I can’t be certain.



    I set Scott Gilmore perhaps an even more difficult poser by photographing an aquatic beetle larva.  He writes:  Larvae are tough but this must be Dytiscidae. There is no way I could go past that!


Beetle larva (Col.: Dytiscidae)  Jeremy Tatum




   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Sunday May 17, a Mourning Cloak flew down Wascana Street just before 3 p.m. Wascana Street is in the Gorge/Burnside community.


   Yesterday,  Saturday May 16, a check for Silvery Blues at Helmcken Road and the Island Highway. and also at the Colwood turnoff, was negative. I could not find a single one. I’m not sure if it was because it was around 4 p.m. or they just haven’t appeared yet. There’s an outside chance that they’re already finished for the season too. I’ll check again later in the week  –   I sure don’t want to miss these guys.


   And finally, to round off the day, a caterpillar and a fly.


Enargia decolor (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum
Fly (Dip.: Tachinidae)  Jeremy Tatum




May 16

2015 May 16


   Mike Yip sends a photograph of a Silvery Blue from Mount Malahat near Spectacle Lake, May 15.

Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Mik Yip

May 15

2015 May 15




(From Aziza Cooper)


Tomorrow begins the May Butterfly Count. The count period is from the 3rd Saturday to the 4th Sunday – nine days. There have been many good sightings lately, so with good weather we should have a productive count.


Please use the form at to submit your results. Submit a separate form for each area you count, so I can take the higher number in case of double counting.


If you’d like a suggestion about what area to count, send me an email. tanageraz at


Please let me know if you want to be removed from this list. If you know of anyone who would like to be added, please give them my email address.


Thanks for submitting your sightings, and happy counting! 


The monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month. June 7 is the next walk. For this month only, we will be going to locations in Duncan. After birding the Cowichan Bay Dock Road in the morning, we will meet at the Somenos Lake boardwalk along the Trans-Canada Highway north of Duncan at 1pm. The walk will be cancelled if the weather is cool or rainy.


A butterfly field trip, led by Mike Yip and myself, will go to Mount Cokely on June 13. We will meet at the Helmcken Park and Ride at 9am and rendezvous with Mike at the Nanoose PetroCan station at 10:30am. I’ll send out a reminder email closer to the date. Rain date is the following Saturday, June 20. Please let me know if you will be attending.



    Aziza also writes, May 14: This afternoon seven species were around the Mount Tolmie reservoir, with two more in other areas:


Hilltopping at the reservoir:

Red Admiral – 2

Painted Lady – 1 (plus 4 others elsewhere)

West Coast Lady – 1 (LIFER!)

Mourning Cloak – 1

California Tortoiseshell, very worn – 1

Pale Swallowtail – 2

Cabbage White – 1 flyby


Other parts of Mt Tolmie:

Western Brown Elfin – 2

Western Spring Azure – 4


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Aziza Cooper

West Coast Lady Vanessa annabella (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Aziza Cooper


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Aziza Cooper



    Val George writes: On May 14, when I opened the front door of my house in Oak Bay this Small Magpie Moth Eurrhypara hortulata flew into the house.


Small Magpie Moth Eurrhypara hortulata (Lep.: Crambidae)  Val George


    Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here are two moths that emerged today.  One, the Scallop Shell, reared from a caterpillar found on Hardhack at Munn Road (where I released the moth today) last year, and the other, a Large Yellow Underwing, dug up as a pupa from a garden in Victoria last month.


Scallop Shell Rheumaptera undulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum


   Bill Katz sends two colour varieties of the caterpillar Erannis vancouverensis There must be tens of millions of these around just now – there’s barely an oak tree that doesn’t have one on every leaf in places now!  He also sends a new moth, Apamea cinefacta  for this site, and the millipede Harpaphe haydeniana, both from Goldstream Park.


Erannis vancouverensis (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz

Erannis vancouverensis (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz


Apamea cinefacta (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz

Harpaphe haydeniana  (Polydesmida:  Xystodesmidae) Bill Katz