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 4

2016 June 4


   Jeremy Gatten writes:  I took some photos on the weekend before I left and I only have one of the shots with me – if you don’t mind a late entry to the Invertebrate Alert, you could post it.  It’s Eristalinus aeneus, which is a syrphid.  It is apparently a European species that is adventive in North America.  I photographed it on May 23rd.  The eyes are great!


Eristalinus aeneus (Dip.: Syrphidae)   Jeremy Gatten



   Devon Parker saw a Western Tiger Swallowtail and a Lorquin’s Admiral at the Prospect Lake boat launch on June 3.   On June 4, he went a bit further afield, to Mount Brenton, near Chemainus, and scored as follows:


7 Western Tiger Swallowtail

5 Pale Tiger Swallowtail

15 Cedar Hairstreak

3 Western Brown Elfin

7 Clodius Parnassian

2 Speyeria sp. (large fritillaries – flybys) 

4 Silvery Blue

1 Mourning Cloak

2 Western Pine Elfin

1 Boisduval’s Blue

1 Western Sulphur

3 Western Meadow Fritillary

1 Roadside Skipper


Jeremy Tatum comments:  That’s a spectacular haul by any standards!  Not sure which of them is the most exciting, but Western Sulphur must come near the top!


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I went to the Kinsol Trestle today.  Almost too hot to stagger along, but I saw Western Tiger Swallowtail, Lorquin’s Admiral, Red Admiral, Clodius Parnassian, several Cedar Hairstreaks, and one rather late-in-the season, but closely seen and identified, Moss’s Elfin.


   Devon sends some photographs from the trip that he and his Dad made to Jordan River on May 31.


Comma Polygonia sp. (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Devon Parker


[Jeremy Tatum comments:  That’s a tough one.  Is the “comma” mark ear-shaped or V-shaped?  Something in between, I think!  I think I’ll just label it “sp.”


Johnson’s Hairstreak Loranthomitoura johnsoni (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Devon Parker




June 3

2015 June 15


   Annie Pang sends photographs of a number of insects.  I’ll have a stab at identifying them, though I’m not an expert! – Jeremy Tatum


The first one looks like a greenbottle.  There are several species, and I don’t think I can go further.


Greenbottle fly.  Probably Lucilia sp. (Dip.:  Calliphoridae)   Annie Pang

   I’m pretty sure that this one is Eristalis tenax


Drone Fly Eristalis tenax (Dip.: Syrphidae)   Annie Pang


Not sure what the next one is.  Stratiomyidae?   Syrphidae?


Unknown (Dip.:  Stratiomyidae?  Syrphidae?)   Annie Pang

The next one is probably a young nymph of a cicadellid leafhopper, and can correctly be called a bug.


Probable leafhopper nymph (Hem.: Cicadellidae)  Annie Pang



Val George writes:   This afternoon, June 3, there was a West Coast Lady nectaring on Gumweed near the Oak Bay Marina.


June 2

June 2


    Monthly Butterfly Walk.   Sunday June 5.  Meet at the top of Mount Tolmie at 1:00 p.m.  All welcome!   We decide on a destination by mutual consent when we meet at Mount Tolmie.  One possibility that has been mentioned is Boas Road, near Spectacle Lake for Boisduval’s Blue.


   Aziza Cooper sends pictures of a bombyliid fly from the field east of Lochside Trail, south of Lohbrunner Road, June 1;  and a damselfly along the railroad tracks at Goldstream, May 30.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I’ll have a stab at identifying them, though I’d be glad of confirmation from anyone who knows these insects.  The fly is Anthrax sp.

As for the exact species, I can’t be sure, but I’d guess either A. georgicus  or A. analis.  These may be synonyms for the same species. The larvae are said to be parasitoidal on tiger beetles.  I think the damselfly is the Western Red Damsel.


Anthrax sp. (analisgeorgicus?) (Dip.: Bombyliidae)  Aziza Cooper

 Western Red Damsel Amphiagrion abbreviatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)  Aziza Cooper

June 1

2016 June 01


   Mike Yip sends an interesting photograph of a moth from his Nanoose Bay garden.  It is a Large Yellow Underwing, which has only in the past very few minutes emerged from its pupa, and its wings have not yet hardened and expanded to their full size.


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Mike Yip


Devon Parker writes:  My Dad and I were at Jordan River again today (May 31) looking for Johnson’s Hairstreak. We managed to find one in the spot you visited with us and another specimen 0.5 km away. We also found a butterfly we haven’t seen there before, Western Spring Azure. There was also a species of diurnal moth nectaring on the willows.  Total for the day was.

2 Johnson’s Hairstreak
2 Western Spring Azures
1 Silvery Blue
6 diurnal moths (photo below)
4 Western Pine Elfins
1 Two-banded Grizzled Skipper
10 Comma sp. (Ear shaped white marking)



Thanks to Libby Avis for identifying Devon’s diurnal moth as Drasteria divergens.   For a photograph of the upperside, see June 5.


 Drasteria divergens (Lep.: Erebidae – Erebinae)  Devon Parker


Jeremy Tatum writes: Devon mentions the ear-shaped “comma” on the underside of the comma sp. hindwing.  I think that this rules out oreas and gracilis (which have a V-shaped “comma”).  I think the “ear-shaped” mark indicates either satyrus or faunus.  Amazingly I still haven’t seen a Satyr Comma this year. but Gordon Hart writes that he saw one on May 31 in his Highlands yard – a bit faded, but noticeably different from the smaller and darker Green Commas.



May 31 morning

2016 May 31 morning


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Amazing news – during my visit to the Goldstream railroad tracks, yesterday, May 30, I saw at least 37 Cedar Hairstreaks. This is a minimum count. There were so many it was hard to be accurate. One cluster of daisies had 14, and I have a photo with 10 in view at once. The location is along the tracks near the Watershed gates just south of the stream (Goldstream). Other butterflies there: one Pale Tiger Swallowtail and one Western Tiger Swallowtail, plus four Western Spring Azures.


  Jeremy Tatum visited Mount Tolmie yesterday (May 30) at 6:30 pm ,and saw, on or near the reservoir, 3 Red Admirals, 1 West Coast Lady, 1 Western Tiger Swallowtail, and one Lorquin’s Admiral (his first for the year).  And, near the Jeffery Pine, 3 Painted Ladies.


  On May 28 Gordon Hart found two beetles in his Highlands yard.  We are grateful to Scott Gilmore for identifying them.


Yellow Douglas Fir Borer Centrodera spurca (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Gordon Hart


Soldier beetle Podabrus sp. (Col.: Cantharidae)  Gordon Hart