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 17 evening

2018 May 17 evening


   Nathan Fisk sends a photograph of a colourful bee, kindly identified for us by Sean McCann as either Agapostemon or Augochlora.


Agapostemon or Augochlora (Hym.: Halictidae)   Nathan Fisk


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Yesterday evening, May 16, on Christmas Hill I saw 1 Propertius Duskywing, and 3 Painted Ladies on the southern peak.


   Kirsten Mills writes:   I had this Pale Tiger Swallowtail by the reservoir on Mount Tolmie today around noon. There was also a Painted Lady.



Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Kirsten Mills


    Annie Pang sends a photograph of a Cedar Hairstreak  from Gorge Park on May 4 – a different, and much fresher – individual from the one shown on May 3.  Annie says:  “ I  know they are still on the wing in Metchosin and probably in Gorge Park as well”.   Jeremy Tatum says:  “I don’t think I’m ready to use the name ’Callophrys gryneus’ for this butterfly yet!”


Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.:  Lycaenidae)  Annie Pang

May 17 morning

2018 May 17 morning


   Thomas Barbin writes:  Yesterday at John Dean Park there were:
15 Western Spring Azures
7 Western Tiger Swallowtails
1 Propertius Duskywing
1 Cabbage White


   But, writes Jeremy Tatum, this is a caterpillar morning.

First I find that I had mislabelled a caterpillar on May 13.  I had wrongly labelled it Orthosia hibisci.  However, the caterpillar has since grown into its final instar (photograph below), and, though it is very similar to hibisci, I can now see that it is in fact Aseptis binotata.

I have a feeling that it might not be well.

Aseptis binotata (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum


   Next is Ipimorpha nanaimo from a cottonwood tree at Panama Flats.

Ipimorpha nanaimo  (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


  And now, I’m afraid, three unidentified caterpillars, respectively from oak, pear and willow.  I’ll make wild, wild guesses at what they might be – perhaps Hydriomena nubilofasciata, Hedya nubiferana  and Choristoneura rosaceana.  They’re probably all wrong – time will tell, when the moths finally eclode. (From the Latin claudere, just as explode is from plaudere.  The nouns are eclosion and explosion; the verbs are eclode and explode.  Entomologists please note.)

Unidentified (Lep.: Geometridae)   Jeremy Tatum

Hedya nubiferana (confirmed) (Lep.: Tortricidae)    Jeremy Tatum



Unidentified (Lep.: Tortricidae)   Jeremy Tatum




May 16 evening

2108 May 15 evening


   Val George writes:  This afternoon, May 16, there were many Ringlets (Coenonympha tullia, to you) at Island View Beach [and nary a “ringlet" mark in sight!  –   Jeremy];  I saw at least a dozen.  Also saw a Purplish Copper.


Ringlet, or Large Heath, Coenonympha tullia (Lep.: Nymphalidae –  Satyrinae)  Val George


Male Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Val George



    Jeremy Tatum writes:  I saw an Autographa californica at Panama Flats this afternoon.


     The following notice might be of interest to viewers. 




   Sounds like an interesting course, though, speaking of bees, those who designed or proofread the poster might benefit by attending a spelling bee.  Jeremy

May 16 morning

2018 May 16 morning


   We have had a few bees in the queue for a while.  Thanks to Claudia Copley and David Blades for identifying them for us.


Bombus melanopygus (Hym.: Apidae)   Annie Pang


Bombus sp. (perhaps mixtus) (Hym.: Apidae)  Annie Pang

Bombus fervidus (Hym.:  Apidae)   Nathan Fisk



Bombus flavifrons (Hym.: Apidae) Rosemary Jorna



   Mike Yip writes from Nanoose Bay: I haven’t done much butterflying but have a few photos to share. While photographing eagles on Denman Island last week I made a brief Editha (“Taylor’s”) Checkerspot stop and found one in the first minute, but didn’t see another for the next 15 minutes of looking. On the way home I stopped at Little Mountain hoping for the Oreas Comma seen and well photographed by Mark Wynja but had to settle for an obliging Pale Tiger Swallowtail instead. Yesterday I checked Cross Road and saw the usual Western Tailed Blues, Western Brown Elfins, Grey Hairstreaks, and the big surprise was an Arctic Skipper which is new for the area. Disappointing that there have been no signs of the Western Pine Elfins this year.  In my yard today I finally caught up with the small brown butterfly that had been tormenting me for the past four days. I saw it land about 15 feet up a cedar tree and was able to get a record shot with my bird lens – you guessed it – Cedar Hairstreak.


Editha (“Taylor’s”) Checkerspot Euphydryas editha taylori (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip


Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Mike Yip



Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip


Arctic Skipper (also known as Chequered Skipper) Carterocephalus palaemon (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip





May 15 evening

2018 May 15 evening


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  This afternoon I saw a “Ringlet”  Coenonympha tullia in the grassy fields just inland from Island View Beach.  Viewers of this site will know that I have hitherto preferred the British name, Large Heath, for this butterfly, on the bases that it is not closely related to the British species known as The Ringlet, and that it carries no “ringlet” markings on its wings.


  However, I may have to withdraw my objections.  I have discovered that when the butterfly was first recognized as a British species in 1795, it was given the name Manchester Ringlet, and a few years later it was renamed the Small Ringlet, to distinguish it from the much larger Ringlet.  However, it was soon realized that it was much more closely related to another British Coenonympha, and the two Coenonymphas became the Small Heath and the Large Heath.  Since the first English name the species had was the Manchester Ringlet, followed by the Small Ringlet, I can no longer insist that this butterfly is not a ringlet.


  There are still some problems.  Over its large Holarctic range, this butterfly has an enormous variation in its markings.  While some populations have several strong ringlet marks, our own population on Vancouver Island has no sign at all of any ringlet mark, which does make it a bit difficult to call it a ringlet!   And how many species are really involved?  Is it just one widely-distributed species, with several named subspecies or forms?  Or should it be split into several species?  This seems to be largely a matter of taste!  And what adjective should we place in front of our own population here?    ’Fraid I don’t know the answer to that.  In any case, it was nice to see one of them today.


  This evening on the top of Christmas Hill there were several Painted Ladies , a Red Admiral, a Propertius Duskywing, and two Grey Hairstreaks.  The latter were flying around a Garry Oak, often settling on it for minutes at a time, wings wide open, at about head height, enabling very close, prolonged views.


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  A Mourning Cloak flew by me on Wascana Street, the Gorge area, today May 15.


    We still have a queue of bumblebees waiting, while we struggle to identify them.  We’ll get them up eventually.  And I believe we have a bunch of goodies from Nanoose Bay awaiting our attention.  Will have to look at them tomorrow.