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 22 evening

2017 September 22


    Here’s another Metchosin moth from Jochen Moehr.  Thanks to Libby Avis for identifying it as Lacinipolia sp.   L. pensilis is a good fit, but it seems safer to label it just Lacinipolia sp.  


Lacinipolia sp. (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Moehr

   Jochen writes:  This morning, there were a fair number of moths on my wall:

6 Ennomos magnaria

4 Tolype distincta

1 probably Neoalcis californiaria


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a Peppered Moth caterpillar:


Peppered Moth Biston betularia (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today, September 22, there were no fewer than 7 Painted Ladies at the Horticultural Center on Quayle Road in Saanich.


Ron Flower writes:  Today at McIntyre reservoir we got 2 Painted Ladies, 20 or more Cabbage Whites, 1 Woodland Skipper and I think the previously found American Lady.  Also at Island View there were 2 Ringlets (Large Heath ­Coenonympha tullia) and 4 Woodland Skippers.


  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yes!!!  One of them is indeed an American Lady.  But I think it may be a different individual than the one shown on September 16.  The large white patch near the apex of the upperside forewing is orange in Mike’s September 16 butterfly.  So, there may be more than one there!


Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep. Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep. Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

American Lady Vanessa virginiensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Ron Flower

American Lady Vanessa virginiensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Ron Flower


September 22 morning

2017 September 22 morning

Happy Equinox, Everyone!


   Here’s another moth from Metchosin, photographed by Jochen Moehr and identified for us by Libby Avis. 


Dryotype opina (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Moehr


   And now Libby sends some photographs herself from Port Alberni.


Xylena curvimacula (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Libby Avis


Lithomoia germana (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Libby Avis


Philedia punctomacularia (Lep.: Geometridae)  Libby Avis



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  The Notodontidae (“prominents”) is a family of moths, many of which have extraordinary caterpillars.  One was shown on September 20.  Here’s another:


Schizura unicornis (Lep.: Notodontidae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Marie O’Shaughnessy writes that there were at least three Painted Ladies on Whiffin Spit yesterday.  Here is one of them.


Painted Lady  Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy


Painted Lady  Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy

September 21

2017 September 21


   Barb McGrenere found a caterpillar of the Girdler Moth Dargida procinctus in the Cordova Bay area.


Girdler Moth Dargida procintus (Lep.: Noctuidae)

Barb MGrenere


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  I’ve been seeing a fair number of Painted Ladies lately.  Especially today, in fact in Beacon Hill Park I saw five, and in the Cecilia Ravine Park there were two.


   Some more moths from Metchosin, sent by Jochen Moehr:


Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Moehr


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Moehr


Orgyia pseudotsugata (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Jochen Moehr


More photographs and observations tomorrow!


September 20

2017 September 20


Sorry – no posting yesterday (September 19).


Today we have two syrphid flies, and we are grateful to Jeff Skevington and Andrew Young for their identification.  The first one, perched on an anemone, was photographed by Jochen Moehr in Metchosin.


Meliscaeva cinctella (Dip.: Syrphidae) Jochen Moehr

   The second one was photographed on Pender Island in July by Ren Ferguson


Polydontomyia curvipes (Dip.: Syrphidae) Ren Ferguson


The spider below was photographed yesterday by Rosemary Jorna in the Kemp Lake area of Otter Point.  We are grateful to Robb Bennett for identifying it for us as a fenmale Araneus saevus  or Araneus nordmanni.  Its head is hidden by its massive abdomen.


Araneus saevus/nordmanni (Ara.: Araneidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Araneus saevus/nordmanni (Ara.: Araneidae)  Rosemary Jorna

   Jeremy Tatum shows a caterpillar of Pheosia rimosa  on an Aspen leaf from Munn Road.


Pheosia rimosa (Lep.: Notodontidae) Jeremy Tatum



September 18

2017 September 18


   Jochen Moehr sends a photograph of a beetle from his property in Metchosin.  Thanks for Charlene Wood, who writes:  Most beetles have 11 antennal segments, but more important to family ID are the tarsal segments on all three sets of legs. Luckily, this photo gives another clue that is helpful in this case – the maxillary palp is triangular in shape, which ruled out the similar shaped Ground Beetles and leads me to the family Tenebrionidae (Darkling Beetles). Tentatively, it looks to be in the genus Helops. Five species range into SW Canada. 


Probably Helops sp. (Col.: Tenebrionidae) Jochen Moehr


   Jochen also sends photographs of more moths and a caddisfly from Metchosin.  Thanks for Libby Avis for doing the identifications.  Some of the moths in the Agrochola/Sunira group can be a challenge to identify.  Jochen’s moth is either Sunira decipiens or S. bicolorago, and, from the ranges of these two species, it is most likely decipiens.


Sunira decipiens (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Moehr



Of the next one, Libby writes:  This one is in what PNWM refers to as the “Xestia finatimis species group”. Four very similar species, three of them (finatimis, infimatis & verniloides) very hard to distinguish even when they aren’t faded. This one looks to me like possibly finatimis or verniloides,  but I wouldn’t care to make a bet on it!




Xestia sp. (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Moehr



Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Moehr


   Next:  Tetracis probably pallulata (jubararia is the other option for the fall). Used to be that pallulata was considered to be the one with darker median lines, closer together which this one has. However,  but I read a paper on them a while ago which seemed to cast doubt on the whole thing – nothing ever seems to be simple anymore!


Tetracis (probably pallulata) (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Moehr


   Of the caddisfly, Libby writes:  We get a lot of caddises at the moth light and I got a bunch of them ID’d by BOLD a few years ago. This one looks like a pretty good match for one of ours which was confirmed as Lenarchus rho photo attached) but there are also other Lenarchus species which are similar and I’m not that confident on how far you can go on these visually.


Caddisfly Lenarchus (maybe rho) (Tri.: Limnephilidae)

Jochen Moehr