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 18

2019 March 18


   Gordon Hart writes:  With the snow still melting in shady areas, Anne-Marie and I watched a Green Comma Polygonia faunus yesterday (March 17) nectaring on purple heather flowers. It posed long enough for me to get some underside shots showing numerous green flecks, so this was likely a male. I have attached an upperside and underside view. The underside view shows a vespid species above on the other side of the flower raceme. We saw several different bumblebee species, a bee-like syrphid fly, and several other bee and fly species. What a glorious day!


   Jeremy Tatum comments:  Commas often rest head downwards, but in this instance it also happens to be a convenient position for getting at the nectar! The wasp may be Polistes dominula – but we’d need to see a bit more of the antennae to be sure.


Green Comma Polygonia faunus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart


Green Comma Polygonia faunus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart


   Jeremy Gatten writes:  I had my first butterfly of the year, a Mourning Cloak, on March 16th in South Valley Park in Saanich. I see that Alan MacLeod had one on March 17th  [don’t know where! –  JT] – he managed a photo that he put up on Flickr, which is how I came across his sighting:   Although I could not confirm which species, I saw an orange nymphalid in the distance today that I suspect could have been Satyr Comma.


   Jeremy Tatum writes: I haven’t seen a butterfly yet, but today I had the first moth emerge that was reared from a caterpillar last year – on Garry Oak from Mount Tolmie, where I released it today.   Here it is:


Oak Winter Highflyer Hydriomena nubilofasciata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jeremy Tatum


    And, just at press time, we have received two observations of Cabbage Whites.  Kirsten Mills saw two today March 18 at 2:30pm in Brentwood Bay on Harding Lane, and Ron Flower had three in his yard in Royal Oak.

March 17

2019 March 17


    Butterfly!  Jochen Möhr writes:  I just wanted to report the first sighting of a Cabbage White in Metchosin (William Head Road/Lombard Road area) on Friday afternoon, March 15.  


But then I came across these news items, which might interest you and your readers as well:


I find particularly the video, the second one, impressive.  



  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I couldn’t find a butterfly today, so I was reduced to photographing a pair of kelp flies on Mount Douglas Beach instead.


Kelp flies (Dip.: Coelopidae)  Jeremy Tatum


March 15

2019 March 15

   Now that it’s less cold than it has been for some time, a few insects are beginning to stir.  Nathan Fisk saw the bee below in Oak Bay on March 13.  It looks rather like a Honey Bee Apis mellifera, but we can’t be quite sure, so I’ll just label it “bee”!

Bee (Hym.: Apidae)  Nathan Fisk


   The first butterfly to be reported to Invertebrate Alert in 2018 was on March 11. We are promised some slightly warmer temperatures this weekend, so I expect some butterfly reports to come in!  Jeremy Tatum


March 8

2019 March 8


   Jochen Möhr sends a picture of an American Tissue Moth Triphosa haesitata from Metchosin.


American Tissue Moth Triphosa haesitata (Lep: Geometridae)

 Jochen Möhr

March 5

2019 March 5


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  As this cold weather continues, I am still reduced to photographing firebrats and similar indoor invertebrates in my apartment building.  We have two species of firebrat in the building – the common Thermobia domestica and the less common Ctenolepisma longicaudata, and I’m not 100 percent certain which this one is.   T.domestica usually has a well-defined brown mottled pattern (see February 19), while C. longicaudata is usually fairly uniformly grey.  To the unaided eye, this one looked grey, but the photograph shows it to have quite a lot of mottling.  However, I think it has the long abdomen typical of longicaudata,  rather than the stubby domestica abdomen, so I think it is Ctenolepisma longicaudata. I suppose there might be the possibiliy of hybridization, or of a different species, but that’s just idle speculation.


  The ever-busy taxonomists have been hard at work on these animals.  On this site I have been listing them in the Order Thysanura (three-pronged bristletails), but some authors are now calling the Order Zygentoma, and some seem not to be certain as to what Class to put them in.


Probably Ctenolepisma longicaudata (Thy.: Lepismatidae)   Jeremy Tatum