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 22

2015 June 22


   Annie Pang has been busy as a bee, photographing bees.  If there are any experts out there who can identify them, please let us know!


Bee 1 (Hym.) Annie Pang


Bee2 (Hym.) Annie Pang


Bee 3 (Hym.)  Annie Pang


And she has been photographing other creatures, too:


European Paper Wasp Polistes dominula (Hym.: Vespidae)  Annie Pang


Beetle (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Annie Pang


And a spider on the kitchen table, identified for us by Robb Bennett, who writes: “It’s a cobweb weaver (family Theridiidae) – most likely one of the many species that used to be broadly lumped into the genus Theridion.


 Cobweb spider “Theridion” sp. (Ara.: Theridiidae)  Annie Pang


While on Mount Washington with the butterfly outing, Bill Katz photographed a few things, including the beetle below (identified for us by Scott Gilmore) and the moth.


Lepturobosca chrysocoma (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Bill Katz


Rheumaptera hastata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Bill Katz



  Mike Yip writes from Nanoose Bay:  Pristine, second generation Grey Hairstreaks are flying now. – saw 4 last week. One kindly decided to bask in my garden for an easy photo. Encountered 2 Red Admirals at the end of Cross Road yesterday. One was on its last wings but the other was intact. 


Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mik Yip


  Aziza Cooper sends a photograph of a pair of Western Meadow Fritillaries at Mount Washington on Saturday.

Western Meadow Fritillaries Boloria epithore (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Aziza Cooper


  Jeremy Tatum writes that there are still (June 21) Red Admirals and Painted Ladies (some worn, some fresh) at the top of Mount Tolmie in the evenings, and he saw a very fresh Red Admiral in the Finnerty Gardens at UVic.  He remarks that he stopped at Chemainus on the way back from Mount Washington, and he noted that the nettles there have Red Admiral caterpillars on them, so we may have a bumper crop of these butterflies soon.


  I still have a backlog of contributions to Invert Alert – particularly a few micro moths yet to be identified, as well as some butterflies still in the queue.  I’ll get round to them a.s.a.p.

June 21

2015 June 21


   Sorry – no June 20 posting – I was at Mount Washington looking for butterflies!  As a result of being away for a day, I have accumulated a whole bunch of welcome contributions, and it will take me a few days to catch up and post them all.  In the meantime, here is Aziza’s report on our trip to Mount Washington.  A big thank you to Aziza for organizing such an exciting trip.  I dare say we’ll be getting some more photos from the trip in the next day or so. [And I know I’m not supposed to mention vertebrates on this site, but I’ll just whisper quietly – we saw a Vancouver Island Marmot!!!]


Aziza’s report:

On our VNHS field trip to Mount Washington, about 10 people saw four species of butterflies. Three of us ended the day with a single Great Arctic.


Species seen by the whole group were:


Western Meadow Fritillary – many, possibly 30

Hydaspe Fritillary – 2

Anna’s Blue – 10-15

Silvery Blue


When we arrived at the parking lot at 11:30am, the sky was very dark and cloudy, temperature was 8 C and it was spitting rain. The group immediately found perched Anna’s Blues and fritillaries near the base of the chairlift. The weather got steadily better all day, and ended with mostly sunny skies at 4pm. By that time the fritillaries were being seen frequently.


It was a long climb up the mountain, but everyone made it. There were no butterflies hilltopping at the summit, possibly due to the cold temperature and mostly cloudy skies at that elevation. The moth devotees found various moths along the way. We took the chairlift down, an easy way to finish.

Aziza Cooper


Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Aziza Cooper


Anna’s Blue Lycaeides anna (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Aziza Cooper



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




   Jeff Gaskin writes:  On June 19, around 12:30 pm. I was with Rick Schortinghuis looking for the Field Crescents on Stelly’s Cross Road, and we found just one or possibly two as we weren’t positive if we were seeing the same one again.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  On the same day I saw a fresh Satyr Comma at Bow Park – presumably one of the first of this year’s crop to emerge.


  Val George writes:  This afternoon, June 19, I finally managed to get out to Stelly’s Cross Road to check out the Field Crescents that Aziza originally located.  There were at least four in the exact spot Aziza described in the left corner of the back field by Eddy’s Self Storage; they were moving around the Oxeye Daisies.  Also there, I saw my first Woodland Skipper of the season among the many European Skippers present.


   On my way home I stopped briefly at Mount Douglas and found 3 Anise Swallowtails and 4 Painted Ladies (3 of them very worn) at the summit.


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


Field Crescent Phyciodes pratensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George




  Chris Garrett writes:  My wife Elizabeth and I are trying to learn a bit more about local butterflies, such as they are. One was trapped in our greenhouse a few days ago, though it did eventually get out. It was difficult to photograph, and the best I could do was to get it on the edge of a photo while the camera had auto-focussed elsewhere.  [Jeremy Tatum responds:  Welcome to the world of butterfly-watchers, Chris and Elizabeth!  Yes, the focus is perhaps not quite good enough to reproduce well here, but it is good enough to identify the butterfly as a California Tortoiseshell.  This is a migratory species which sometimes (not every year) puts in an appearance here in April.  There were several reports this year, but the last one reported to this site was on May 15.  They usually don’t stay here, and breeding records are very few.  Your butterfly looks fresh rather than worn, so this invites a suspicion that some of the April butterflies laid eggs here (probably on Ceanothus thyrsiflorus), and yours is the first of a new generation, having been bred here.]








June 19

2015 June 19


   Sorry – no June 18 posting.  Too busy!   Jeremy


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Hi Butterfly Counters,


Tomorrow (Saturday June 20) begins the June Butterfly Count. The count period is from the 3rd Saturday to the 4th Sunday: June 20 to June 28. 


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.


If you want to be removed from this list or if you know of anyone who would like to be added, please email me.


Thanks for submitting your sightings, and happy counting! 


The monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month. The next walk is on July 5. We meet at Mt Tolmie summit at 1:00pm and decide on our destination from there. The walk will be cancelled if the weather is cool or rainy.


Enjoy the butterflies!



   Bill Katz sends photographs of Gabriola dyari (a new moth for this site) and Udea profundalis from Swan Lake Nature House, June 17.


Gabriola dyari (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz


Udea profundalis (Lep.: Crambidae) Bill Katz


   Annie Pang sends photographs of the European Common Emerald moth, a Green Pug and an ichneumonid (probably Netelia or Ophion), June 17


Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Annie Pang


Green Pug Pasiphila rectangulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Annie Pang



Probably Netelia or Ophion sp. (Hym.: Icheumonidae)  Annie Pang




   Aziza Cooper writes: I went up to Mt Washington and although it was a cloudy afternoon, there were quite a few butterflies. Anna’s Blues were near the chairlift in front of the Alpine Lodge, many Western Meadow Fritillaries were along the road to the east, and Great Arctics along the Linton Trail where it heads uphill from the road. A Painted Lady and one female blue were also there. Please help with identification of the blue, although my photo doesn’t show much of the ventral side.  [Jeremy Tatum responds:  I have seen Silvery Blues as dark as this one, and I suggest that as a tentative possibility.  But I am not familiar with all the blues that might occur on Mount Washington, so I wouldn’t really like to say!]


Great Arctic Oeneis nevadensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae) Aziza Cooper



Anna’s Blue Lycaeides anna (Lep.: Lycaenudae)  Aziza Cooper


Unidentified, but tentatively Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)

Aziza Cooper


Western Meadow Fritillary Boloria epithore (Lep.: Nymphalidae( Aziza Cooper


June 17

2015 June 17


   Gordon Hart writes:  We were up near Courtenay on June 15, so we drove up to Mount Washington and walked the lower slopes near the alpine lodge. The most common butterfly was Western Meadow Fritillary Boloria epithore. There were dozens everywhere, some very worn and some much fresher. There were several whites and blues, but none stopped long enough for a closer look. Other species were seen down below the lodge in Paradise Meadows, the entrance to Strathcona Park. There we saw two Anise Swallowtails, and one comma, probably a P. zephyrus with a grey underside, and lots more fritillaries.  The moths were mostly tiny geometrids, but there was also a black Rheumaptera hastata .  I have attached pictures of a fritillary, a sawfly with a lime-green and black body, two beetles with nice yellow-green elytra [identified for us as Pachyta armata, by Scott Gilmore] and a cicada, probably Okanagana occidentalis; and the moth.


Spear Moth, or Argent and Sable Rheumaptera hastata (Lep.: Geometridae) Gordon Hart


Cicada, probably Okanagana occidentalis (Hem.: Cicadidae)   Gordon Hart


Pachyta armata
(Col.: Cerambycidae)   Gordon Hart



Sawfly (Hym.: Symphyta)  Gordon Hart


Western Meadow Fritillary Boloria epithore (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart



Western Meadow Fritillary Boloria epithore (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a photograph of some caterpillars of Milbert’s Tortoiseshell found on the Hillmann Trail during Saturday’s Bioblitz in Metchosin.

The caterpillars of Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, Satyr Comma and Red Admiral all feed on Stinging Nettle.  Those of the comma and the admiral are solitary, whereas those of the tortoiseshell are highly gregarious, sometimes being found in groups of a hundred or more.  I satisfied myself with five.  In the last week or so I have been finding caterpillars of Red Admiral in almost every nettle patch I look at.  We should be seeing lots of adult butterflies in a few weeks.



Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Aglais milberti (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Jeremy Tatum


June 16

2015 June 16


Aziza Cooper writes:  Hi, butterfly watchers, This is a reminder that our up-island trip is this Saturday. We should have good weather for butterflies.


If you need a ride, let me know and I’ll post it to my list. Rides need to be arranged beforehand, and riders should expect to share expenses.


We’ll be getting together at the Mount Washington Alpine Lodge at about 10:30am. The drive is about 2 1/2 hours from Victoria. I plan to explore the trails in the meadows near the lodge, so latecomers will be able to find the group near the base of the chairlift. We’ll continue to check further along the trails and meadows above the parking lot for the morning.


In the early afternoon, I’d like to take the chairlift to the top to look for the alpine species. Great Arctic and Arctic Blue are possible. Although Great Arctic are more abundant in even-numbered years, they also occur in odd-numbered years, and I saw many in 2013.


There is a very good road up the mountain, lots of free parking and a café and restrooms in the lodge. Bring your binocs, camera and field guides, and don’t forget sunscreen and a hat.


Hope to see many of you on Saturday on the mountain.

Aziza Cooper



Aziza continues:  In checking which species are expected on the summit of Mt Washington, I took a look at the blue I saw there two years ago. It’s an Arctic Blue, from the dark ground and large markings on the ventral side. It’s interesting being a newbie and getting a lifer two years after seeing the butterfly. This rarely happens with birding!

[Jeremy Tatum comments:  Well, I shouldn’t really allow a two-year-old photo on the Invert Alert, but I’ll take this as an enticement for viewers to join the Mount Washington trip – one of the goodies that you might see there!   Jeremy]


Arctic Blue Agriades glandon (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper



   Val George reports an Anise Swallowtail from Uplands Park, June 15.



   Mike Yip sends a photograph of a Dun Skipper from his Nanoose garden, June 15.


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