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 21

2018 September 21


   Jeremy Tatum writes:   Although it has been raining on and off today, I saw a Cabbage White flying in light rain near McIntyre Reservoir this afternoon.  Am trying to drag the butterfly season on as late as possible!


September 20 morning

2018 September 20 morning


   Seems this is a spidery time of year.   Two from Lantzville photographed by Scott Gilmore, and one in Victoria by Aziza Cooper.   Thanks to Dr Robb Bennett for the identifications.

  Of this one, Robb  writes:  This is one of our common agelenid house spiders but I’m not sure if it is a Tegenaria domestica or a juvenile Eratigena duellica.

Tegenaria domestica or Eratigena duellica (Ara.: Agelenidae)

Scott Gilmore

Female Steatoda (perhaps albomaculata) (Ara.: Theridiidae) Scott Gilmore


Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)  Aziza Cooper

   Gordon Hart sends a photograph of a dragonfly from Panama Flats, Deptember 15.   Thanks to Dr Rob Cannings for the identification.  Rob writes:  This is a very nice picture of a male Aeshna umbrosa. The most obvious character in this photo is the lack of a strong black line across the face, as seen in A. palmata. In addition, the lateral thoracic stripes are bordered in black (not so obvious here), the abdominal spots are relatively small (takes practice) and, if you could see it better, the top of the tenth abdominal segment is black, not with blue spots as in A. palmata.  Also, if you could see the ventral surface of the abdomen, there would be paired pale spots on the segments, absent in A. palmata.

Shadow Darner Aeshna umbrosa (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Gordon Hart


   Barb McGrenere sends a photograph of a caterpillar from a blueberry plant in her Cordova Bay garden, September 19.

Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae) Barb McGrenere


   Mark Wynja writes:  On September 18th I spotted a road-killed Praying Mantis on Edwards Road at the end of Dawson Road, Nanoose. I stopped to check it out and almost immediately another one nearly flew into me. It landed in the tall grass along a wire fence allowing me to catch it easily.  A nearby homeowner told me his wife found one a couple weeks ago on their property.

Praying Mantis Mantis (probably religiosa) (Man.: Mantidae) Mark Wynja


Cheryl Hoyle sends a photograph of a Chocolate Arion Slug from Glendale Trail taken September 19th.



Chocolate Arion Arion rufus  (Pul.:  Arionidae) Cheryl Hoyle


   Jochen Möhr sends a photograph of a moth from Metchosin.  Libby Avis writes:  Safe to say “Xestia infimatimis species group”, but I can’t go beyond that. There are three species in the group which are very similar – X. finatimis, X. infimatis and X. verniloides.


Xestia finatimis group (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


September 19 evening

2018 September 19 evening


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I went to the Buddleia in the Finnerty Gardens (UVic) this afternoon to see if the Red Admiral that I released yesterday was still there.  I didn’t see it, but on the same bush was a pristine fresh California Tortoiseshell.   Can it be that we are going to have a late-season influx of butterflies as we did last year?   In the last few days, we have had reports of the following nymphalids:  Red Admiral, Lorquin’s Admiral, Painted Lady, American Lady, California Tortoiseshell.  Quite an exciting bunch!

September 19 morning

2018 September 19 morning


   Val George reports an American Lady from Mount Douglas, September 17.  The circumstances of the discovery were somewhat reminiscent of the first of last year’s American Lady sightings.  Val was doing his Monthly Butterfly Count on Mount Douglas.  In addition to 20 Cabbage Whites, Val saw two ladies, one of which was identified with certainty as a Painted Lady. Val photographed the second one under the assumption that it, too, was a Painted Lady, and only later, on examination of the photograph, did he realize that it was an American Lady.


American Lady Vanessa virginiensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George


   Although the American Lady can easily be recognized if you see the underside, it is more tricky from the upperside alone.  Jeremy Tatum writes that there are two features that he uses.



1.         The big white patch is pointed at the bottom.  Rounded or blunt in Painted Lady. (Applies to upperside only.)

2.          Below the big white patch there is a little round white spot.  (The pointy end of the big white patch is pointing to it.)  This is characteristic of the American Lady.

   Ron Flower writes:  On the17th of September, we went to Panama Flats and saw at least 12 Cabbage Whites and 1 Lorquin’s Admiral.


   Nathan Fisk writes that on  September 17 he saw a flyby on Sidney Island that he was pretty confident was a Red Admiral.  Jeremy Tatum writes that on September 18 he saw a flyby at Panama Flats that he thought – with not much confidence! – was also a Red Admiral.  He wasn’t going to mention it until he saw Nathan’s observation. 


   Jochen Möhr reports that there are still Pine Whites fluttering around the tops of the Douglas Firs in Metchosin.


 So – the butterfly season isn’t quite over yet!


  There are moths, too, of course, and Jochen Möhr’s haul from last night included


2 Noctua pronuba,

2 Tetracis pallulata

1 Neoalcis californiaria

1 Xanthorhoe defensaria

1 Euxoa (probably difformis)


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Euxoa (probably difformis) (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


September 18

There was no Invert Alert on September 17.


2018 September 18


   There are still Cabbage Whites to be found.  Jeff Gaskin counted 45 in the Martindale area yesterday, and Kirsten Mills counted 25 at Panama Flats, where there were still several today.  Kirsten also found 10 Woodland Skippers at Panama yesterday.


  The Red Admiral caterpillar (September 1) and pupa (September 8) produced an adult butterfly today, writes Jeremy Tatum.  It emerged from its chrysalis just when I was about to dash off for a doctor’s appointment, so I just had time for a poorish indoor photo of the underside, before I released the butterfly on Buddleia in the Finnerty Gardens, where I had a brief gorgeous view of the upperside.  I just made it to the doctor’s in time.


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta(Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum


More tomorrow…