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 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

June 15

2015 June 15


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yesterday (June 14) I went briefly to Eddy’s Self Storage at 1064 Stelly’s Cross Road, Brentwood Bay, and I saw several Field Crescents there.  Thank you, Aziza Cooper, for drawing our attention to these in the June 11 posting.


   Annie Pang sends a picture of an Eight-spotted Skipper from Esquimalt Gorge Park, June 10.


Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Annie Pang



   Jeremy Tatum sends pictures of three rather different and specialized moth cocoons

from the last few days.


Nycteola frigidana (Lep.: Nolidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Behrensia conchiformis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Schreckensteinia festaliella (Lep.: Schreckensteiniidae) Jeremy Tatum


Schreckensteinia festaliella
(Lep.: Schreckensteiniidae) Jeremy Tatum



   This last insect was identified for me by Eric LaGasa. It seemed hardly larger than a House Fly.  4 mm from head to tail;  6 mm from head to wing tip.  Larval foodplant Rubus. It is known as the Raspberry Skeletonizer.


   Eric LaGasa also kindly identified the tortricid below as the European Leaf Roller. Archips rosanus. It’s all in the costal fold!




Archips rosanus (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Ken Vaughan writes:  Off to the Beaver Lake Ponds again this morning, June 15. (What else do I do?) Not much new, except for sighting two male Common Whitetails Plathemis lydia, and eventually getting close to one to get a good photo. Also included is a reminder that dragonflies are carnivorous, in spite of their
beauty: a teneral Western Pondhawk munching on a Tule Bluet. I watched it snatch it right out of the air.


Common Whitetail Plathemis lydia (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Ken Vaughan


Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae)


Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)
Ken Vaughan



   Val George sends a photograph of a Dun Skipper from the VNHS trip to Nanoose and Harewood Plains on June 14.

Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris (Lep.: Hesperiidae) Val George

June 14

2015 June 14


   Sorry, no June 13 posting – too tired!


   Annie Pang sends photographs of an upper- and underside of a Western Tiger Swallowtail from Gorge Park, June 12.  She notes that they enjoy nectaring on Himalayan Blackberry, but they appear to ignore the native Mock Orange blossom.


Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Annie Pang


Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Annie Pang



    Bill Katz sends a photograph of a Scallop Shell moth from UVic’s Finnerty Gardens.

 Scallop Shell Rheumaptera undulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Bill Katz.

He also sends a photograph of Eupithecia unicolor  from his Summit Hill Garage.

 Eupithecia unicolor (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I went to Metchosin yesterday as part of the Bioblitz to see if I could find any caterpillars.  Not very many, and it was too hot for me to stay out long, but

I did find caterpillars of Western Spring Azure, Red Admiral and Milbert’s Tortoiseshell.


   The moth below emerged yesterday from a pupa formed by a caterpillar found in March in Mount Douglas Beach Park, which is where I released it yesterday.  I had some difficulty in identifying it at first, because I have never seen a specimen of this species so strongly and boldly marked.  It is the Brown Angle Shades.  Richard South, writing of its European counterpart over 100 years ago, wrote that the moth, when newly emerged from its pupa, is an “exceedingly beautiful creature”.  I think he was right – don’t you?  This species is best known from its habit of resting with its wings folded in pleats.  When it was freshly emerged, it didn’t do this – another thing that made me fail to recognize it immediately.   The usual appearance of this moth here is like the one shown on 2011 September 6.  To access the archival photographs on the site, scroll to the bottom and press END.  Then go again to the bottom and you’ll find a list of months, which you can click on.


Brown Angle Shades Phlogophora periculosa (Lep.;  Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum




   Aziza Cooper writes:  James Miskelly reminded me that I haven’t posted my list of sightings from our trip to Mt Cokely road last weekend. Here it is:

  1. W Tiger Swallowtail
  2. Pale Swallowtail
  3. Anise Swallowtail
  4. Clodius Apollo
  5. Margined White
  6. Sara’s Orangetip
  7. Western Sulphur
  8. Cedar Hairstreak
  9. Grey Hairstreak
  10. Brown Elfin
  11. Western Pine Elfin
  12. W Tailed Blue
  13. Silvery Blue
  14. W Spring Azure
  15. Boisduval’s Blue
  16. Zephyr Comma
  17. Mourning Cloak
  18. Painted Lady
  19. Hydaspe Fritillary
  20. Mylitta Crescent
  21. Lorquin’s Admiral
  22. Persius Duskywing
  23. Arctic Skipper
  24. Two-banded Checkered Skipper


   Scott Gilmore writes: My son and I found a very interesting tiny rove beetle flying across our front lawn yesterday evening – Megarthrus pictus.   [Jeremy Tatum writes:  Scott doesn’t say how big this beetle is, but I found a reference that says length 3 mm – so this is quite a remarkable photograph!]


Megarthrus pictus (Col.: Staphylinidae) Scott Gilmore

June 12

2015 June 12


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a chrysalis (Greek chrysos – gold) of a Red Admiral.


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Jeremy Tatum

  And here is the moth Oncocnemis semicollaris:


Oncocnemis semicollaris (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Today, June 12, I saw seven European Skippers, my first of year, in about a half-hour’s walk in the east end of Uplands Park. There were also two Lorquin’s Admirals and two Cabbage Whites. A large orange butterfly flew by fast going towards Beach Drive near the southeast entrance to Uplands Park, across from the entrance to Cattle Point.


   Jeremy Tatum ventures tentatively:  A large orange butterfly flying by fast at this time of year often turns out to be a Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina.


European (Essex) Skipper Thymelicus lineola (Lep.: Hesperiidae) Aziza Cooper



June 11

2015 June 11


   On June 10 Scott Gilmore wrote:   A little over two years ago my then five year old son and I went looking for moths for the first time. We were very fortunate to have a White-lined Sphinx sitting near an overnight CFL light and we were quickly hooked to find and learn more about moths and other insects. We have seen a few hundred moth species since then but not a single sphinx since that first day until yesterday morning when we had an Elegant Sphinx (Sphinx perelegans) near the same light.



Sphinx perelegans (Lep.: Sphingidae) Scott Gilmore

   Scott continues on June 11:  There was a second Elegant Sphinx (smaller and not missing a wingtip) at the same light this morning. Also present was a Salt and Pepper Geometer  (also known as Peppered Moth) Biston betularia and a Dark-bordered Granite Digrammia neptaria.



   Aziza Cooper writes:  On Tuesday June 9 about 5pm I explored the field west of West Saanich Road near Eddy’s Self Storage. In a back corner of the field I found four or five Field Crescents. There are a lot of daisies around the edges of the large field and a smaller field at the back of it, but only Cabbage Whites were there. The crescents were all in a small neglected bit off the far left corner of the back field.  There are other undeveloped spots nearby that might have Crescents, if it is possible to search them – if the owners will permit. Eddy’s Self Storage has some daisy patches, and the property to the east does also.


Field Crescent Phyciodes pratensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper

Field Crescent Phyciodes pratensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper


Rosemary Jorna writes:  This dragonfly was on the shrub overhanging the beach at Devonian Park this morning. Several Western Tiger Swallowtails were flying as well as a Cabbage White and one worn Mourning Cloak landing on the beach.


Blue-eyed Darner Rhionaeschna multicolor (Odo.: Aeshnidae) Rosemary Jorna

This dragonfly let me get extraordinarily close on the beach at Devonian Park.



Blue-eyed Darner Rhionaeschna multicolor (Odo.: Aeshnidae) Rosemary Jorna


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here are two caterpillars from Bow Park, June 10.


Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae)

Jeremy Tatum

Behrensia conchiformis (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum