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.

September 20

2019 September 20


   Bud Logan sends a photograph of a black woolly bear caterpillar.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I don’t know for sure what it is, but I am wondering if it is an all-black individual of the Banded Woolly Bear.  The width of the central orange band in this species varies, but I’ve never seen one in which the orange band is totally absent.  Anyone care to comment?


Maybe Pyrrharctia isabella (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Bud Logan



   Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:


Tetracis pallulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Pleromelloida cinerea (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Pleromelloida cinerea (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  The “Meadow” bed at the Finnerty Gardens (UVic) at the moment has massive amounts of Sedum and Verbena in flower.  These are excellent butterfly attractants.  At lunchtime today (September 20) there were two fresh-looking Painted Ladies nectaring on the Verbena.


September 19

2019 September 19


   Layla Munger sends three photographs from Beacon Hill Park, September 18. Thanks to Dr Rob Cannings for the identification of the dragonfly as Aeshna palmata.  Rob  writes: The straight thoracic stripes are similar to those of R. multicolor, but have some yellow in them rather than being all blue. The face is yellowish instead of bluish, and has a black line, unlike the faint brown line of R. multicolor. A male would have been much easier!


Female Paddle-tailed Darner Aeshna palmata (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Layla Munger


Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Layla Munger


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Layla Munger


   Jochen Möhr had a big moth night in Metchosin last night.   Thanks as ever to Libby Avis for help with the identifications. Here are a few that Jochen photographed.

Sunira decipiens (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Agrochola purpurea (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Euxoa sp. (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Dysstroma sp. (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr


Tetracis sp. (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

Xestia finatimis-infimatis-verniloides complex (Lep.: Noctuidae)

Jochen Möhr


Euxoa sp. (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of a snail from McIntyre Reservoir.

Cepaea nemoralis (Pul.: Helicidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jeremy writes:  Here is the puparium of a parasitic fly from a hapless caterpillar of a thyatirine moth:

Parasitic fly puparium (Dip.: Tachinidae) Jeremy Tatum

September 18 afternoon

2019 September 18 afternoon


Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning:


1 Agrochola purpurea

2 Drepanulatrix sp. 

1 Eudonia sp. 

1 Euxoa sp.  

1 Lambdina fiscellaria

1 Noctua pronuba

1 Udea profundalis


Xestia finatimis complex (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Dryotype opina (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

Lambdina fiscellaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

   Here are some slugs from Nanaimo by Franci Holtsander:


Arion sp. (probably subfuscus) (Pul.: Arionidae) Franci Holtsander

Ariolimax columbianus (Pul.: Arionidae) Franci Holtsander

Ariolimax columbianus (Pul.: Arionidae) Franci Holtsander


September 18 morning

2019 September 18 morning


   Kirsten Mills writes: On September 16, I was a caterpillar that looked like the hawk moth caterpillar last month. It was seen at the south end of Island View Beach.


Well, replies Jeremy Tatum, I hope Kirsten means that she “saw” a caterpillar rather than that she “was” one.  In any case, what a spectacular caterpillar it is!  It is indeed the same species as the one she showed on August 26, from nearby McIntyre Reservoir – a Bedstraw Hawk Moth.  I am beginning to lose count, but I think this is the sixth report of this species to Invert Alert this year – four adults, and two caterpillars, the latter both found by Kirsten.  Today’s caterpillar is a very different colour variety from the one Kirsten photographed on August 26 , so she did well to recognize that today’s is the same species.  Here they are both, first, the one Kirsten found in August:


Bedstraw Hawk Moth Hyles gallii (Lep.: Sphingidae) Kirsten Mills


and now the one she found on September 16:


Bedstraw Hawk Moth Hyles gallii (Lep.: Sphingidae) Kirsten Mills

   Although these individuals look very different, both have a red “horn” – I believe this is constant in all colour varieties of the caterpillar.  So far this year, we have received one photograph of an adult Hyles lineata, but we haven’t yet had one of a caterpillar. Its caterpillar always has a yellow horn.


Kirsten also sends a photograph of a Neoalcis californiaria from near Hillside Mall:


Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Kirsten Mills


Franci Holtsander. from Nanaimo, sends a photograph of a caterpillar of the Spotted Tiger Moth, and also the snail Cepaea nemoralis.  The shell looks just right for this species, although the animal itself is usually rather paler than this specimen.


Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae- Arctiinae)

Franci Holtsander


Cepaea nemoralis (Pul.: Helicidae)  Franci Holtsander

   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of Cucullia montanae.  You can see the “hood” over its head, from which it gets its name Cucullia, from “cucullus”, a hood.  I don’t know where it gets its name “montanae” from, since I usually find this species on Gumweed on the beach down at sea level.


Cucullia montanae (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum

More this afternoon or evening…
















September 17

2019 September 17


   Barb McGrenere writes:  Today, Mike and I saw a fresh Painted Lady in the flowering Teasel beside McIntyre Reservoir.  There were a few Cabbage Whites flying around too.


Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin last night:


1 Agrochola purpurea

1 Parabagrotis (sulinaris?)

2 Udea profundalis

1 Xestia finatimis-infimatis-verniloides complex



Possibly Parabagrotis sulinaris (Lep.: Noctuidae)

Jochen Möhr

Udea profundalis (Lep.: Crambidae) Jochen Möhr

Xestia finatimis-infimatis-verniloides complex (Lep.: Noctuidae)

Jochen Möhr

Sunira decipiens (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr