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.

July 15

2106 July 15


   Annie Pang sends some pictures from Gorge Park.


Osmia lignaria (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang


Hover fly (Dip.: Syrphidae)    Annie Pang


Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Annie Pang


Halictus rubicundus (Hym.:  Halictidae)   Annie Pang



   Rosemary Jorna sends photographs from the Kemp Lake area.  Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying the beetle as Leptura obliterata.  The bug is Philaenus spumaria, a spittle bug. The nymph of this bug makes the little masses of frothy spittle that we see on low-down vegetation.


Leptura obliterata (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Philaenus spumarius (Hem.: Cercopidae)  Rosemary Jorna



Aziza Cooper writes:  In Uplands Park near the corner of Dorset and Midland Roads on Wednesday, July 13, I saw my first Woodland Skipper of the year.


And Jeremy Tatum saw his first Pine White of the year at UVic, July 15.


Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides  (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Aziza Cooper





July 14

2016 July 14




Gordon Hart writes:


Hello Butterfly Counters!

The next butterfly count period will begin Saturday July 16 running until Sunday July 24. Please use the submission form on the VNHS website:

Numbers appear to be down now, but there can still be quite a variety on a good day. We should have Woodland Skippers and Pine Whites on this count, as well as some of the continuing species.


If you need suggestions for a place to count, please email me. If we get more than one count for a location, I will use the high numbers for each species. If you want to be removed from this list, please let me know. If you know someone who wants to be on the list, please ask them to email me.


The next butterfly walk will be on Sunday August 7, meeting at Mt Tolmie, at 1 p.m. The trip is weather-dependent and I will send out another reminder closer to the date.

Thanks for participating in the count!


Gordon Hart,

Butterfly count coordinator 


Gordon continues (from the Highlands District:  We were on the back deck Wednesday evening (July 13) looking for bats when we noticed two large Sphinx moths nectaring on pots of petunias. I was not able to get pictures because of the low light, but I found one this morning in the driveway.


Sphinx perelegans (Lep.: Sphingidae)   Gordon Hart



   Jeremy Tatum comments:  Sphinx vashti and S. perelegans  are somewhat similar hawk moths, perelegans being a little larger than vashti.  I used to think that vashti was the common one in our area, but since this website started in 2010, we have had five images of perelegans and none yet of vashti.

July 13

2016 July 12


   Jeremy Tatum shows a photograph of a Nycteola species reared from a caterpillar found at Blenkinsop Lake, where the moth was released today.  The species N. frigidana and N. cinereana can be difficult to tell apart.  It is often thought that the caterpillar of the former feeds on willow, and the latter feeds on poplar. I have often felt a little uncertain about that, because willow-feeding caterpillars often feed on poplar as well, and vice versa.  Anyway, I am pretty sure that this moth is Nycteola cinereana, although the caterpillar was found and reared on willow, not poplar, so the above rule is evidently not completely watertight, and not to be relied on for identification.


Nycteola cinereana (Lep.: Nolidae)    Jeremy Tatum



   Two more colouful photographs of a leafcutter bee, in Gorge Park, from Annie Pang:


Megachile perihirta (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang


Megachile perihirta (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang



   Aziza Cooper reports a Western Spring Azure from Brighton Avenue, July 12.  This is just two days after another one was seen in Sidney (See July 10).




July 12

2016 July 12


   Annie Pang sends a colourful photograph with an interesting bee, identified by Linc Best as a female Coelioxys, a parasite in the nests of Megachile.  These parasitic bees are sometimes called “cuckoo bees”.


Coelioxys sp.: (Hym.: Megachilidae)   Annie Pang


July 11

2016 July 11


   Thomas Barbin sends some remarkable close-ups of insects in his Highlands yard, July 10. 


Bumblebee face  (Hym.: Apidae)   Thomas Barbin

Bumblebee hairs   (Hym.: Apidae)       Thomas Barbin


Bumblebee mouth   (Hym.: Apidae)             Thomas Barbin


Damselfly   (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)    Thomas Barbin



Sweat bee  Lasioglossum sp.   (Hym.: Halictidae)           Thomas Barbin


Sweat bee  Lasioglossum sp.   (Hym.: Halictidae)           Thomas Barbin


Sweat bee  Lasioglossum sp.   (Hym.: Halictidae)           Thomas Barbin



Sweat bee  Lasioglossum sp.   (Hym.: Halictidae)           Thomas Barbin



   Here are two more shots of Liam Singh’s Black Saddlebags (see yesterday’s posting).


Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Liam Singh


Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Liam Singh



   Annie Pang sends photographs of a variety of small flies from Gorge Park.


Fly   (Dip.:  possibly Lauxaniidae)   Annie Pang


Fly  Syritta pipiens (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Annie Pang


Fly (Dip.: possibly Tachinidae)  Annie Pang