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.

2021 October 5

2021 October 5

    Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a young (second instar) caterpillar from the large egg mass shown on September 19


Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)    Jeremy Tatum

Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)    Jeremy Tatum


Aziza Cooper writes:  On October 1, I was at Panama Flats, and tiny money spiders kept landing on me. The spiders in the photo are on my hat, greatly enlarged.

Thanks to Dr Robb Bennett for identifying them for us.


Erigone sp. ( Ara.: Linyphiidae – Erigoninae)  Male (upper), female (lower)    Aziza Cooper


Aziza continues:  On October 4, I saw a large dragonfly at Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park.

Thanks to Dr Rob Cannings for identifying it for us.


Female Shadow Darner Aeshna umbrosa (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Aziza Cooper


2021 October 4

2021 October 4 morning

    Jeremy Tatum writes:  I didn’t have to wait long for an answer to my appeal for a photograph of a Banded Woolly Bear.  Rosemary Jorna saw one up there on the Matterhorn along with the American Lady that was shown in yesterday’s posting.

Banded Woolly Bear  Pyrrharctia isabella (Lep.: Erebidae –Arctiinae)  Rosemary Jorna

   Mr E photographed some springtails near Mount Douglas Beach.  We are grateful to Dr Frans Jannsens for identifying them for us.   When I was young, which was a long time ago, life was simple, and springtails were in the Order Collembola in the Class Insecta.  Nowadays, life is more complicated. Springtails are no longer insects, and they are distributed among four Orders, which Dr Jannsens tells us are Poduromorpha, Neelipleona, Entomobryomorpha and Symphypleona.  

   Dr Jannsens gives us not only the species of the globose springtail below, but its subspecies and even its age (a subadult).

Ptenothrix maculosa olympia (Symphypleona – Dicyrtomidae)  Mr E


Ptenothrix maculosa olympia (Symphypleona – Dicyrtomidae)     Mr E


Entomobrya intermedia (Entomobryomorpha – Entomobryidae)

Mr E

2021 October 3

2021 October 3

     Yesterday (October 2) Kate Woods and Rosemary Jorna found another American Lady, on the summit of the Matterhorn, which, by the way, is not in Switzerland/Italy, but is in the Sooke Hills.  I am not sure, until I look at the records, but I think Invert Alert may have had more American Ladies than Painted Ladies this year.   On the other hand, it is a long time since we have had a West Coast Lady.


American Lady Vanessa virginiensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Kate Woods


Also on October 2, Mr E photographed a Woolly Aphid near the beach at Mount Douglas Park, where several were hovering.


Woolly Aphid.  Probably Adelges sp.  (Hem.: Adelgidae)   Mr E

Woolly Aphid.  Probably Adelges sp.  (Hem.: Adelgidae)   Mr E


October is the month when we see Banded Woolly Bears.  I saw dozens of squashed ones (writes Jeremy Tatum) along the Lochside Trail this afternoon – and  I remember seeing similar numbers at Panama Flats last year.  I think there are far more corpses than would occur from accidental treading by pedestrians and bicyclists.  I think people are conditioned to think of insects as pests to be killed on sight, and I believe that the squashed corpses that we see are deliberately trodden upon by pedestrians.

It would be nice if some viewer were able to get a nice photo of a living Banded Woolly Bear for Invert Alert.

2021 October 1

2021 October 1 morning

    Aziza Cooper writes:  On September 30 along Lochside Trail north of Blenkinsop Lake, a Satyr Comma was sunning itself on a blackberry leaf.


Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Satyridae)   Aziza Cooper

2021 September 27

2021 September 27

    Jeff Gaskin writes: Today, September 27, before the rains came, Kirsten Mills found a Mylitta Crescent while she was in Jordan River.


   Mike Yip sends photographs of dragonflies from Nanoose, Sepember 25.  Dr Rob Cannings writes: 

    The meadowhawks are Striped Meadowhawks Sympetrum pallipes, both the pair in copula and the single female. This is perhaps the most common species of the genus on southern Vancouver Island at this time of year. The darner is a male Paddle-tailed Darner Aeshna palmata. These can be hard to tell apart from A. umbrosa in a dorsal shot like this, but palmata has blue spots on the ninth abdominal segment whereas umbrosa is all dark there.

   Jeremy Tatum adds:  If you are lucky enough to have a copy of Rob’s excellent book Introduction to the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon, compare the photograph of S. pallipes on page 89 with Mike’s photograph.  It is remarkable how very similar are the stances of the pair in the two photographs – even down to the exact positions of the legs of the two.  The males are holding their wings differently in the two photographs; otherwise, they could be just the one photograph.

Striped Meadowhawks Sympetrum pallipes (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Mike Yip


Female Striped Meadowhawk Sympetrum pallipes (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Mike Yip


Paddle-tailed Darner Aeshna palmata (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Mike Yip


   Aziza Cooper and Jeremy Tatum visited Aylard Farm on September 24, when Aziza photographed the carcase of a Townsend’s Vole with a Greenbottle Fly on it.  (See September 24 entry.)  Coincidentally, Gordon Hart found the same Townsend’s Vole only an hour or so later.  By this time the carcase had attracted a bunch of other invertebrates – flies, beetle, mites, which Gordon photographed.  We thank Dr Scott Gilmore for the beetle identifications, and Dr Heather Proctor for the mite identification.

Flesh Fly Sarcophaga sp.:  (Dip.: Sarcophagidae)

Creophilus maxillosus (Col.: Staphylinidae)

Gordon Hart

Flesh Fly Sarcophaga sp.:  (Dip.: Sarcophagidae) Gordon Hart

    There is a dipterous maggot near the bottom of the above photograph.  Gordon speculates as to whether the fly above might be a fond parent.


Nicrophorus investigator (Col.: Silphidae)  

Poecilochirus sp. (Mesostigmata: Parasitidae)

Gordon Hart

Nicrophorus defodiens (Col.: Silphidae)  

Nicrophorus investigator (Col.: Silphidae)

Sarcophaga sp. (Dip.: Sarcophagidae)

Gordon Hart