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 8

2015 May 8


    Scott Gilmore writes from Upper Lantzville: 


I found a Cabbage Seedpod Weevil Ceutorhynchus obstrictus in the garden yesterday on flowering Kale. Another European species.


Ceutorhynchus obstrictus (Col.: Curculionidae) Scott Gilmore



   Jeremy Tatum writes: I visited Mount Tolmie today (May 8) at about 2:00 pm and I didn’t see any butterflies at all, either on the reservoir or on the way up.  At 4:30 pm, however, it was a totally different story.  Sunning themselves on the reservoir were two Painted Ladies, a West Coast Lady and a Mourning Cloak, while a few Propertius Duskywings and Western Spring Azures and at least one Western Tiger Swallowtail were flying around nearby. I didn’t see a Red Admiral there, but there was one earlier in the day on Lochside Drive between Lohbrunner’s and Blenkinsop Lake, which seemed to be taking some interest in a nettle patch.





May 7

2015 May 7


   Jeremy Tatum sends a photo of a Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata that was at his Saanich apartment this morning.


Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiidae) Jeremy Tatum


   At 4:00 pm this afternoon (May 7) there were a Red Admiral, two Painted Ladies and a West Coast Lady on the Mount Tolmie reservoir.

May 6

2015 May 6


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  A Red Admiral and a Mourning Cloak were sunning themselves on the Mount Tolmie reservoir at 4:00 pm today, Wednesday May 6.  Late afternoon is the best time to find hill-topping nymphalids on the reservoir.

May 5

2015 May 05


   Gordon Hart writes:  May 02 was a good day for invertebrates as well as birds.  I don’t mean to inundate you [Keep inundating! – Jeremy] with pictures but I have a few I wanted to show you. I saw a very worn comma, I think P. faunus, and nearby a lighter more golden satyrus, I think. Also, a nice Cedar Hairstreak on an apple blossom. All these were at home, but up on Observatory Hill, I saw a female Propertius Duskywing, and also a first for this year, a female Spiny Baskettail.  At home, we also saw our first Pale Swallowtail of the year, as well as the usual spring butterflies.


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

Green Comma Polygonia faunus (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Gordon Hart

Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep. Hesperiidae) Gordon Hart


Spiny Baskettail Epitheca spinigera (Odo.: Corduliidae) Gordon Hart



   Jeremy Tatum sends photos of a moth and a bug from his Saanich apartment, May 4.  Thanks to Libby Avis for identifying the moth, and to Scott Gilmore for identifying the bug.  The moth is Berhensia conchiformis, which I completely failed to recognize. This moth usually exhibits brilliant, shiny green scintillations (see, for example, Jeremy Gatten’s photograph in the March 22 posting). In spite of the lack of this shiny colour, Libby spotted the pattern, which fits perfectly, and she writes:  We see them occasionally with the green and yellow iridescence worn off, which I think is what may have happened here.  Libby adds: Still pretty slow here (Port Alberni) at the light, but we did get a Spodolepis danbyi last night (May 3). We don’t see them very often and it’s the first this year.


   The bug, writes Scott Gilmore, is a species of rough stink-bug, Brochymena sp.  Scott writes that there are two species here, and he can’t be sure from the photo which of the two it is.


Behrensia conchiformis (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum


Brochymena sp.  (Hem.: Pentatomidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Spodolepis danbyi (Lep.: Geometridae)  Libby Avis



   Scott Gilmore writes:  I have attached a picture of a mating pair of Mecinus pyraster(Curculionidae), a European native that seems abundant this year on stems of Plantago where the young develop. 


  Also there are pictures of two different species of Epuraea(Nitidulidae) that I found on the weekend.




Mecinus pyraster (Col.: Curculionidae)  Scott Gilmore

Epuraea sp. (Col.: Nitidulidae)  Scott Gilmore

Epuraea sp. (Col.: Nitidulidae)  Scott Gilmore




   Corduliidae and Nitidulidae, featured in today’s posting, are Families not previously represented on this site.


May 4

2015 May 4


   Aziza Cooper led a very successful Butterfly Walk on May 3.  Here is a report on the walk by Aziza, plus some photographs by Aziza and by Val George.


The monthly butterfly walk had about 15 people and excellent weather – calm and sunny, and fairly warm. We began at Mount Tolmie with eight species in a short time:


Anise Swallowtail – 1 very fresh, allowing good looks and photos

Pale Swallowtail – 1 at summit briefly

Painted Lady – 1

Spring Azure – 8

Propertius Duskywing – 2

Cabbage White – 3

Sara Orangetip – 1 faded

Brown Elfin – 2


We went out to Gore and Oak Haven Parks in Brentwood Bay. Our only butterflies there were about 20 Spring Azures, and two briefly seen elfins. The flowers were magnificent!


Also seen was a lizard with two tails: weird and wonderful. (European Wall Lizard)


Two of us went to Mount Douglas summit on the way back, and the hilltopping butterflies were very numerous and active:

Painted Ladies – 12 or more

Red Admiral – 2

California Tortoiseshell – 1, possibly two

Propertius Duskywing – a cluster of three, with two others landing on them.

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


   Aziza continues:  Several small red moths were at Oak Haven Park. I managed to take a photo of one in flight.  [Jeremy Tatum writes:  This is the same tiny reddish geometrid that I mentioned on the May 2 posting as having been seen at Munn Road.  In spite of its small size, it has an English name:  Dark-ribboned Wave.  Amazing to photograph this tiny moth in flight, with wings fully outstretched!]

Dark-ribboned Wave Leptostales rubromarginaria (Lep.: Geometridae)

Aziza Cooper



   And here are some of Val’s photos from the Walk on Mount Tolmie. 


Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon (Lep.: Papilionidae) Val George

Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Val George

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George

Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Val George





   On the day before, May 2, Gerry and Wendy Ansell write:  Today was a seven-species-butterfly day for us.  At Christmas Hill there were 2 Anise Swallowtails (a first for us this year – photo attached), 2 Propertius Duskywings, 1 Sara Orangetip, and numerous Spring Azures and Cabbage Whites.  In our yard on Cordova Ridge there was a Red Admiral and a Western Brown Elfin.


Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Wendy Ansell