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.

March 17

2015 March 17


            Jeremy Tatum writes:  I remarked to Scott Gilmore that some of the beetles in his photographs in yesterday’s posting were probably quite small beetles.  Scott replies, confirming this, and sending an even smaller one!  –  “You are right – some of those beetles were very small. 3-4 mm in length for many of them. They do get smaller. I have attached a picture of a member of the Melanophthalma genus (from the Family Latridiidae – Minute Brown Scavenger Beetles). My son and I found that on a Douglas Fir branch on March 13th and it was only 1.7mm long. I know beetles get even smaller but I am yet to find any of those.”


Melanophthalma sp. (Col.: Latridiidae) Scott Gilmore

March 16

2015 March 16


            Rosemary Jorna sends a photograph of Emmelina monodactyla from Kemp Lake Road, March 15.


Emmelina monodactyla (Lep.: Pterophoridae)  Rosemary Jorna


         Bill Katz sends a photo of a micro moth from Goldstream, March 13, and we are grateful to Eric LaGasa for identifying it as Acleris sp., and probably an unusually early Acleris britannia or Acleris schalleriana.


Probably Acleris britannia/schalleriana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Bill Katz



   Jeremy Gatten writes:  I just returned from three and a half weeks in Colombia and I’ve had the lights on to enjoy the action that the warm weather has brought.  I have had the following species (although not 100% on the Xanthorhoe and Venusia):


Hydriomena nubilofasciata

Eupithecia ravocostaliata

Eupithecia graefii

Eupithecia olivacea

Eupithecia gilvipennata

Venusia pearsalli

Xanthorhoe defensaria

Hydriomena manzanita

Emmelina monodactyla

Agonopterix alstroemeriana

Orthosia praeses

Orthosia hibisci

Orthosia transparens

Egira crucialis

Egira rubrica

Cerastis enigmatica

Autographa californica

Lithophane innominata

Hypena californica

Nola minna

   He continues: I have pictures of most things, but won’t be back until Wednesday evening. Which species would be most entertaining for you to see?


   Jeremy Tatum responds:   My!   What a choice!    How can I possibly answer that one?  I can’t think of any I wouldn’t want.  So – Viewers of this site – please send your preferences to me  (jtatum at and I’ll pass them on to Jeremy Gatten.  In the meantime, I, too, have difficulty with Venusia and Xanthorhoe.  I also have difficulty with E. olivacea/annulata so it would be nice to see olivacea if Jeremy G. is 100 percent sure.  I can’t remember if E. rubrica has appeared on this site before; I think it probably has, but very rarely.  Hypena is another difficult one, and it would be nice to see a certain ID. Otherwise send ’em all, perhaps at a rate of three per day!


   We have heard from Scott Gilmore in Upper Lantzville, who earlier sent us pictures of a caterpillar and pupae from Ceanothus, and which we suspected were Drepanulatrix.  One of the moths has now emerged, and it is indeed Drepanulatrix – but the question is – which one?  Both Scott and I (Jeremy T) believe it is D. monicaria– the only problem with that being that the species is apparently not on the Canadian list.  So this is very exciting!  


Drepanulatrix sp. (probably monicaria) (Lep.: Geometridae)  Scott Gilmore



   Scott also writes:  Other interesting sightings have been finding some interesting beetles under bark of rotting birch and Douglas Fir in the forest above my house.  These include:


Clinidium calcaratum, the only member of the Rhysodidae (wrinkled bark beetles) found in BC.

Rhyncolus brunneus,

an Ambrosia beetle, perhaps from the genus Xyleborus

My son found an Ironclad beetle, Phellopsis porcata. Family Zopheridae


At my backdoor I found the introduced ant mimic Rugilus orbiculatus (a staphylinid) and nearby was a Plate-thigh beetle (Nycteus infumatus) which has the ability to “jump” (picture family Eucinetidae).


Clinidium calcaratum (Col.: Rhysodidae) Scott Gilmore




Rhyncolus brunneus (Col.: Curculionidae) Scott Gilmore


Ambrosia beetle. Perhaps Xyleborus sp. (Col.: Curculionidae) Scott Gilmore



Phellopsis porcata  (Col.:  Zopheridae) Scott Gilmore



Rugilus orbiculatus (Col.: Staphylinidae) Scott Gilmore

Nycteus infumatus
(Col.: Eucinetidae) Scott Gilmore





March 15

2015 March 15


            Jeremy Tatum shows a pug from his Saanich apartment this morning.  Pugs are small geometrids of the genus Eupithecia.  On first acquaintance they may seem to be rather uninteresting and boring.  There are lots of them, all brown and grey and hard to distinguish.  Yet it is a very successful group, with many species (more than 50 in British Columbia alone), many of them quite common.  The caterpillars feed mostly in flowers, and many of them are quite specialist, to be found in only a few particular species of flower.  Some species in Hawaii, such as E. orichloris, are far from uninteresting or boring, for they capture and feed on insects that visit flowers.   Two of our British Columbia species, E. annulata and E. olivacea are notoriously difficult to distinguish. I think the moth I show is probably E. annulata, but I wouldn’t want to eliminate E. olivacea as a possibility.  Both species are conifer feeders.


Probably Eupithecia annulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Bill Katz sends photos of two moths from Goldstream Park, March 14, and a moth and a bug from Haro Woods, March 15.


Cerastis enigmatica (Lep.: Noctuidae)

Bill Katz


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz

Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz

Brochymena affinis (Hem.: Pentatomidae)   Bill Katz

March 14

2015 March 14


   Gerry and Wendy Ansell write that there was a Mourning Cloak on Thursday March  12 by the grassy area by the Swan Lake Nature House.


   Barbara McGenere writes:  On March 12, Mike and I saw 3 fresh male Sara Orangetips on the lower south slope of Mount Douglas.  Two were seen together briefly, but mostly they were flying low, back and forth over the grassy Garry Oak slope.   Also at Mount Douglas was 1 Satyr Comma in the forest, basking in the sun, low on a tree trunk.  Also on March 12, there was 1 Satyr Comma along Lohbrunner Road, and 2 in Outerbridge Park.  Also on March 12, was a Cabbage White in my neighbours’ garden which has many plants in flower right now.


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Barbara’s sighting of a Sara Orangetip reminded me to check my pupa of one, which I have had since last year.  Here’s a photo of it.  The Orangetip pupae are pretty clever.  When they are first formed in the spring they are green. Late in the summer and early fall, they change to a straw colour – same as that of the surrounding vegetation.  Then in the winter they turn very dark – almost black – again matching the surrounding vegetation.  Anyone would think they didn’t want to be seen.


Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara Lep.: Pieridae)
Jeremy Tatum


   Bill Katz writes on March 13):   There was a green moth high up on the wall of the Goldstream Nature house that I’d never seen before.  I’ve identified it as Feralia deceptiva.  I’m attaching a shot of it taken at a distance.


   Bill also sends a photo of Orthosia praeses and a snout, which he suggests is Hypena californica.   Jeremy Tatum agrees that this is the most likely, but I don’t think we can rule out possibly H. decorata or H. modestoides.  We need to study these snouts a bit more to see which species we get here.


   Bill also writes: I saw several butterflies and a moth at Swan Lake early in the afternoon, including a small white and black moth that I suspect was Mesoleuca gratulata.  I also saw my first Mourning Cloak.


Feralia deceptiva (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz


Orthosia praeses (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz


Hypena sp. (Lep.:  Erebidae – Hypeninae) Bill Katz




March 13

2015 March 13


   Jeremy Tatum saw a Cabbage White at the Hillside shopping centre yesterday.


   James Miskelly’s fascinating talk on Tuesday about “grigs”  (i.e. Orthoptera!) had an immediate result – for Ann Nightingale responded with alacrity with a photo of a grig – a camel cricket – from a Pacific Dogwood tree in her yard (Central Saanich) after dark on March 11. 

Camel cricket Diestrammena sp. (Orth.: Rhaphidophoridae) Ann Nightingale