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.

2024 May 31 evening

2024 May 31 evening

   Ian Cooper photographed this tiny wasp at his home in Victoria.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of parasitoidal wasps in the families Ichneumonidae,  Braconidae, and some related families.  Identification is a challenge, but, writes Jeremy Tatum, I agree with Ian that this is a braconid, and in the subfamily Microgastrinae:


Parasitoidal wasp (Hym.:  Braconidae – Microgastrinae)  Ian Cooper


Ian also photographed this dead Antrodiaetus pacificus.  Ian would like to acquire a suitable microscope that would enable him to make scierntifically valuable drawings of some of the creatures that he finds.  Suggestions, anyone?


Antrodiaetus pacificus  (Ara.: Antrodiaetidae)  Ian Cooper



2024 May 31 morning

2024 May 31

Jeremy Tatum writes:  Several contributors agree with my comments on May 29 about the paucity of butterflies.  However, there have been a few moments of sunshine in the last few days, and a very few welcome butterflies have been seen on Mount Tolmie, Mount Douglas and Outerbridge Park.   Forgive me if I omit some of the details of time and place and other details  – got a bit of a cold and am taking advantage of it by spending some delicious hours in bed!


Cedar Hairstreak Callophrys gryneus  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Marie O’Shaughnessy


How do you tell the difference between a Pale Tiger Swallowtail and a Western Tiger Swallowtail?  Well, in the Western, the black stripes are narrower than the yellow stripes;  in the Pale, the black stripes are broader than the yellow.  So, which is the one below?  See the problem?  Well, I’m putting this down as a Western.  Let me know if you disagree.

Western Tiger Swallowtail  Pterourus rutulus  (Lep.:  Papilionidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy


And how do you tell the difference between a Painted Lady and an American Lady?  Well, in the Painted Lady, the white patch near the apex is blunt.  In the American Lady, it is pointy, and it points to small white spot.  So, which is the one below?  See the problem?  Well, I’m putting this down as a Painted Lady.  Let me know if you disagree.

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy


The one below is unambiguously a Painted Lady:

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Aziza Cooper

Mourning Cloak  Nymphalis antiopa  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper

       Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba  (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Aziza Cooper






2024 May 30 morning

2024 May 30 morning

VNHS Butterfly Walk on Sunday, June 2.
Message from Gordon Hart

This is a reminder for the VNHS Butterfly Walk on Sunday, June 2.

We will meet at the Mount Tolmie summit by the reservoir, at 1.00 p.m. You can park in the parking lot there, or in the large lot north of the summit. After a look around the summit, we will decide on a destination from there.

As mentioned in the calendar description, this field trip is weather-dependent as it needs to be sunny and warm to make it worthwhile. Cancellations or special instructions will be posted on this site or the calendar ( ) closer to the date.

Hoping the weather cooperates!

Gordon Hart


2024 May 29

2024 May 29

Scott Fowler found this spectacular, but unfortunately dead, Ceanothus Silk Moth along Forest Hill Road,  May 18.

Hyalophora euryalus  (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Scott Fowler


   No Butterflies. There have been no butterflies reported to this site since May 23.  Is this a real lack of butterflies, or just a lack of reporting?   I have not been out a great deal, writes Jeremy Tatum, though I haven’t seen any myself.  What are others finding?

2024 May 28

2024 May 28

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  During the Uplands Park Insect Bioblitz on May 12, I found a small caterpillar on dogwood.  It has now transformed into an adult moth, kindly identified by Dr Jason Dombroskie as Pandemis cerasana, shown below.


Pandemis cerasana  (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Here’s a caterpillar found on a blackberry bush near Blenkinsop Lake:


Aseptis binotata  (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum