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.

May 20 morning

2018 May 20 morning


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  From Tuesday until Saturday inclusive this week I shall be heavily involved with the Canadian Astronomical Society meeting in Victoria.  Consequently there may be some delays in posting Invert Alert contributions.  By all means continue to submit your observations and photographs, though it would be helpful if photographers would, during these few days, concentrate their attention on the less frequently photographed species.  Thank you.


   Jeremy Tatum sends three photographs all from Saanich yesterday.  Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying the beetle.   The white moth is the adult of the well-known Yellow Woolly Bear caterpillar.


Stag beetle  Platycerus oregonensis (Col,: Lucanidae)    Jeremy Tatum


Orthosia hibisci (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum


Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Andrew Simon together with Scott and Sable Gilmore conducted a mini bioblitz in Bluffs Park, Galiano Island, BC, Saturday May 19, 2018.  They came across this geometrid caterpillar:


Protoboarmia porcelaria  (Lep.: Geometridae)  Andrew Simon


   Annie Pang sends photographs of a Cabbage White butterfly¸ and a Narcissus Bulb Fly.


Male Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)   Annie Pang



Narcissus Bulb Fly Merodon equestris  (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Annie Pang










May 19 evening

2018 May 19 evening


Message from Gordon Hart:


Hello Butterfly Counters,

The May count runs nine days from the third Saturday, May 19, to the fourth Sunday, May 27. You can submit a count anytime over this period, and you can do more than one count, just use a separate form for each count. In the case of repeat counts, or more than one person counting an area, I will take the highest count for each species.

Please use the form at on the Victoria Natural History Society website .

The count area is the same as the Christmas Bird Count circle (attached). For butterfly identification there are numerous internet sites, but most or all Victoria species are listed on E-Fauna. If you select by photographer, all the photos under James Miskelly’s name are of Victoria species. Here is the link:,%20james&specrep=0

A lot of butterflies have been sighted recently, so a look at the Invertalert  ( will also show you many species flying now.


If you would like a suggestion for an area to count, please send me an email. The weather is finally looking much better this month, so we can hope for a good count.

In addition to the counts, a monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month – the next walk will be on June 3rd. We start at the summit of Mount Tolmie at 1pm, and decide where to go from there. I will send out another reminder near the month-end.

Thank-you for submitting your sightings and happy counting! 


Gordon Hart

Butterfly Count Coordinator

Victoria Natural History Society


Count circle map link:



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  A Spotted Tiger Moth emerged yesterday from a cocoon made by a caterpillar last year:


Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Jeremy Tatum

May 19 morning

2018 May 19


    Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin:  Yesterday morning at the moth light, I found

5 Melanolophia imitata, 2 Tyria jacobaeae, and one each of Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli, Perizoma curvilinea, Lophocampa maculata as well as two which I could not identify.  (Not to worry – Libby Avis has done that for us – see photographs below.)


Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae) Jochen Möhr


Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli  (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr


Perizoma curvilinea (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Peppered Moth Biston betularia (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


Agrotis obliqua (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr



  Libby Avis writes from Port Alberni:  Have had a fair amount of moth activity this week, including two Hyalophora euryalus , one male and one female which showed up the day after Moralea saw hers (see May 12). Have attached three others from yesterday morning: Anavitrinella pampinaria, Metarranthis duaria and Spiramater lutra.




Anavitrinella pampinaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Libby Avis


Metarranthis duaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Libby Avis


Spiramater lutra (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Libby Avis


   Libby also sends photographs of a caterpillar that she found on an ornamental birch tree in her yard.



Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Libby Avis



Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Libby Avis


May 18 evening

2018 May 18 evening


   Mike Yip writes from Nanoose Bay: Yesterday, when I was photographing a Western Brown Elfin in the rhododendron bush, a Cedar Hairstreak landed in the nearby osier dogwood.  It also nectared on the holly tree.  Western Spring Azures are also common in the yard as are the black and yellow bumble bees.  The Western Tailed Blue was on Cross Road where the Arctic Skipper is still nectaring on the vetch.


Western Tailed Blue Everes amyntula (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Bombus vosnesenskii (Hym.: Apidae)  Mike Yip

  Thanks to Annie Pang for identifying the bee for us.

Lots more in the queue – but will have to wait until tomorrow!   And maybe not first thing in the morning – I’ll be up in the wee hours watching Harry and Meghan.     Jeremy



May 18 morning

2018 May 18 morning


   Annie Pang sends a photograph of a syrphid maggot found on a lettuce.  These maggots feed upon aphids.


Syrphid maggot (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Annie Pang


   Annie also sends a photograph of a Cabbage White.


Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Annie Pang


   Tracey Mellor sends a photograph of a Catocala caterpillar shortly before pupation looking for somewhere to bury itself and pupate.  It is most likely our commonest species, the oak-feeder C. aholibah.


Catocala sp. (probably aholibah) (Lep.: Erebidae – Catocalinae)  Tracey Mellor



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I reared a small caterpillar from Indian Plum. The adult moth emerged a few days ago, and it was so featureless that I didn’t think it could be identified.  No problem for Jason J. Dombroskie, who kindly identified it for us as Argyrotaenia franciscana.


Argyrotaenia franciscana (Lep.: Tortricidae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Sonia Voicescu reports the following from Rithet’s Bog, May 16: 6 Western Spring Azures, 6 Cabbage Whites and 21 (yes, that’s 21!) Ringlets.  It’s good to know that the Ringlets are doing so well at Rithet’s Bog and at Island View Beach.  Will someone check Layritz Park and Quick’s Bottom? 


Western Spring Azures Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Sonia Voicescu

Western Spring Azures Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae) 

Sonia Voicescu


Coenonympha tullia (Lep.:  Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)  Sonia Voicescu