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 9

2016 May 9


   Apparently you don’t have to go out into wilderness areas to find the Western Brown Elfin.  Annie Pang has found them as close to town as Gorge Park.  Here is one of them, which she photographed there yesterday.

 Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Annie Pang



   Jeremy Tatum visited Goldstream Park briefly today, and he saw a few Western Spring Azures and a Red Admiral.  He also checked the Mount Tolmie reservoir at 6:00 pm this evening.  There was one Red Admiral there.

May 8 evening

2016 May 8 evening


   Mike Yip sends a photograph of a Four-spotted Skimmer from Rhodo Lake, May 7.

 Four-spotted Skimmer Libellula quadrimaculata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Mike Yip


   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of a Spotted Tiger Moth from the Blenkinsop Valley, May 8.


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


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Bill Savale and I walked a short way along the E&N railway near the old Malahat station.  We saw three Sara Orangetips and our first-of-year Mylitta Crescent.

May 8 morning

2016 May 8 morning


   Mike Yip writes:  Looks like another good year for the Taylor‘s” Checkerspots on Denman Island. I had no trouble finding about 30 right at the entrance to Denman Provincial Park on Thursday May 5.


   Today I spent an hour checking some areas a short way past the Saddle parking spot on Mount Cokely and found 5 Sara Orangetips, 6 Hoary “Zephyr” Commas, 3 Western Brown Elfins, 1 Western Pine Elfin, 2 Cedar Hairstreaks, 3 Mylitta Crescents, and several Silvery Blues. The bonus moths [Thank you, Libby Avis, for the identifications!] and ladybird are also from Cokely. After Cokely I checked the Northwest Bay logging road and found many Western Tailed Blues, Western Spring Azures, a few Silvery Blues, and 4 Mylitta Crescents. I was hoping for a duskywing but had to settle for a few dark, day-flying, duskywing-imitating moths. 


The Cedar Hairstreak is from my garden and the Moss’s Elfin from Mount Cokely.


Edith’s (“Taylor’s”) Checkerspot Euphydryas editha taylori (Lep.: Nymphalidae) 

Mike Yip

 Hoary (“Zephyr”) Comma Polygonia gracilis zephyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)Mike Yip

 Hoary (“Zephyr”) Comma Polygonia gracilis zephyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)

Mike Yip


 Harmonia axyridis (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Mike Yip

Thallophaga taylorata (Lep.: Geometridae) Mike Yip


[“Thallophaga” is Greek for “fern-eater” – which is what the caterpillar does!]

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

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip

 Moss’s Elfin Incisalia mossii (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip



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



   Rebecca Reader-Lee sends a photograph of an American Emerald Dragonfly from the North Highlands.  We are grateful to Rob Cannings for the identification.


American Emerald Cordulia shurtleffi (Odo.: Corduliidae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee



    Jeremy Tatum sends a picture of a Spilosoma virginicathe adult of the well-known Yellow Woolly Bear – from the Blenkinsop Valley, May 7.

 Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)   Jeremy Tatum


   And a spider, which he spotted in his bathtub just before taking his morning shower:


Scotophaeus blackwalli (Ara.: Gnaphosidae)  Jeremy Tatum

May 7

2016 May 7


   Yesterday we posted a picture of the caterpillar of the moth Coryphista meadii.  Coincidentally, today Rebecca Reader-Lee sends photos of two adults of the same species from the North Highlands.  They both seem to satisfy Jeremy Gatten’s criteria (see April 21) for identifying them.


Barberry Geometer Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee


Barberry Geometer Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee


   She also sends a photograph of another geometrid moth – Xanthorhoe defensaria


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Rebecca Reader-Lee


and a American Lappet Moth:


American Lappet Moth Phyllodesma americana (Lep.: Lasiocampidae) 

Rebecca Reader-Lee



   Annie Pang sends a photograph of Autographa californica, taken today.

 Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang



   Val George writes:  This afternoon, May 7, there was a very fresh West Coast Lady on the reservoir at Mount Tolmie.


West Coast Lady Vanessa annabella (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George

May 6

2016 May 6


   Jeremy Tatum shows two geometrid caterpillars.  The Barberry Geometer from one of the eggs depicted on April 21, from Mahonia near Munn Road.  The Common Emerald on dogwood on the Lochside Trail near Blenkinsop Lake yesterday.


Barberry Geometer Coryphista meadii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum


Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Kem Luther sends a photograph of a large caterpillar photographed by Janet Renouf in Matchosin.

 Catocala aholibah (Lep.: Erebidae – Catocalinae)

Janet Renouf



   Here’s one from Mike Yip, May 2, which I’m afraid that I missed in the pile.  Sorry, Mike!  He wrote that although the lupines were only 10 percent in bloom (probably a bit more advanced by now), Silvery Blues were common.  Here is a pair photographed by Mike at the Horn Lake exit.

 Silvery Blues Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Mike Yip


 Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today, May 6, I was out on the Lochside trail north of Blenkinsop Lake and I found a Red Admiral. On the bicycling pathway connecting Lochside Drive to Blenkinsop Road, which is south of Blenkinsop Lake, was one Pale Tiger Swallowtail.   Another Pale Tiger Swallowtail was on Mount Tolmie, and my first of year Western Tiger Swallowtail was along Richmond Avenue near Bay Street.


    Val George writes: The hot weather this afternoon, May 6, brought out a bonanza of butterflies at and near the summit of Mount Tolmie:  3 Pale Swallowtails, 1 Western Tiger Swallowtail, 2 Painted Ladies, 2 California Tortoiseshells, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Propertius Duskywing (photo attached), and 1 Cabbage White.


Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Val George


   Jeremy Tatum found a spider in his Saanich apartment, and photographed it before putting it out!  Robb Bennett, who kindly identified it, writes:  Philodromus dispar, a male.  Another introduced species here; the males are easily identified by their highly contrasting dark dorsal surfaces and light coloured sides and legs.


Philodromus dispar (Ara.: Philodromidae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Annie Pang sends a picture of a fearsome male robber fly, kindly identified for us by Rob Cannings as Laphria sp., either L. fernaldi or, more likely, Rob writes, L. asturina, “given the extensive dark hairs on the front of the thorax”

 Laphria (probably asturina) (Dip.: Asilidae)  Annie Pang