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.

April 29 morning

2019 April 29 morning


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Apologies to viewers, for no movement on Invert Alert since Thursday.  This was because of a computer technical hitch, which did not allow me access to the site!  I believe it is fixed now.  There will be another posting this afternoon to help clear the big backlog that accumulated over the sunny weekend.


    Annie Pang writes:  I got these shots on April 20th here in Victoria, BC over at a neighbour’s place whose apple tree was infested with Woolly Apple Aphids.This bee looks to be a female Andrena species and it sure was busy collecting pollen off the blossoms! 

   Thanks to Lincoln Best for confirming Annie’s identification of genus and sex, and for suggesting that it is probably A. perplexa.


Adrena (probably perplexa) (Hym.: Adrenidae) Annie Pang


Adrena (probably perplexa) (Hym.: Adrenidae) Annie Pang


   Aziza Cooper writes:  On April 26 at Viaduct Flats I saw three Western Spring Azures. The photo also shows another strange creature, like a large ant.  [Jeremy Tatum writes:  It is a large ant!  Probably Formica sp.]


Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)

and ant (probably Formica sp.)  Aziza Cooper


    Aziza continuies: On April 27 on the west slope of Mount Douglas we saw about five Sara Orangetips, and four Propertius Duskywings. The photo shows a duskywing with a lot of white – more than I remember as being typical.   Cris Guppy writes:  It is female, because of the very fat abdomen and also because of the well-developed whitish markings all over the forewings. Males have less whitish coloration other than the white spots.


Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Aziza Cooper


   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of a rough stink bug from inside his Saanich apartment.


Rough stink bug Brochymena sp.  (Hem.:  Pentatomidae)  Jeremy Tatum


  Here is a recent photograph by Jochen Möhr of a Feralia species.  These can be difficult, but Libby Avis identifies it as Feralia comstocki.



Feralia comstocki (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


   Libby Avis writes from Port Alberni:  Attached are photos of today’s silk moth – Hyalophora euryalus subspecies euryalus.


   This one is an example of the "brown" phenotype known only from southern Vancouver Island – the body is completely brown. There is another "normal" phenotype also known from the island which has white markings on the body and collar. They interbreed and we get both forms in Port Alberni. Have attached another photo of the "normal" phenotype taken here in 2016 for comparison.


I also tracked down a paper on this from the Journal of the BC Entomological Society:


I know there have been other sightings in past years reported on the Invertalert, but I haven’t gone back to see what they look like – would be interesting to find out if they are a mix of forms too.


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Well, if anyone would like to look through Invert Alert for previous Vancouver Island photographs of H. euryalus, the dates are as follows:  10Jun04; 13Apr28; 13May08; 13May29; 14May16;15Apr24;15May20; 16Apr12; 16Apr23;17Aug05; 18May12;

The one on my Furman University website appears to be the “normal” sort.


Hyalophora euryalus, “brown” form (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Libby Avis


Hyalophora euryalus, “brown” form (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Libby Avis

Hyalophora euryalus, “normal” form (Lep.: Saturniidae)

2016 photograph Libby Avis


   From a very large moth to a very small one, the moth below came from a Brussels sprout today.  It is Plutella xylostella, which is reputed to be one of the most widespread moths in the world – wherever they grow cabbages, presumably.  I didn’t measure the moth, but the length of the pupa from which it emerged was 5 mm.


Plutella xylostella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jochen Möhr’s count from Metchosin, morning of April 28:

4 Eupithecias (pugs)

3 Venusia obsoleta/pearsalli

1 Apamea cinefacta

1 Drepanulatrix monicaria

1 Egira perlubens

1 Feralia comstocki

1 Hydriomena manzanita

1 Orthosia transparens


Pictures of some of them, with thanks to Libby Avis for identifications:


Feralia comstocki (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


   Of the next one, Libby writes:  Apamea cinefacta – I think, but same as one we deliberated over last year and both Jeremy and I decided this was the most likely culprit!

Apamea cinefacta (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Egira rubrica (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr


Egira curialis (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jochen Möhr



  Jeremy Tatum and Bill Savale walked along the railway line north of Cowichan Station on April 28, and we saw 8 Margined Whites, 2 Western Spring Azures, 1 Satyr Comma and 1 Cedar Hairstreak.  And of course we could hardly miss the two ova (eggs) on the underside of a Cascara leaf, shown below, next to two millimetre scales.


Triphosa haesitata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Wendy Ansell saw her first dragonfly of the season on April 28 on Christmas Hill.  Rob Cannings comments that April is really early for aeshnids here.  Thanks to Rob for identifying Wendy’s dragonfly as Rhionaeschna californica.


California Darner Rhionaeschna californica  (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Wendy Ansell

April 24

2019 April 24


  Rosemary Jorna photographed a nice harvestman  in her Kemp Lake Road garden on April 21.  We are grateful tp Philip Bragg, who writes:  I cannot see in Rosemary’s very nice photograph all the details I would have liked to check but I am pretty sure that she has Paroligolophus agrestis.

This harvestman is active in the spring.


Paroligolophus agrestis (Opi.: Phalangiidae)  Rosemary Jorna

April 23

2019 April 23 


   Jeremy Tatum shows a caterpillar that he found yesterday on Indian Plum in Bow Park, Saanich.

Aseptis binotata (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Aseptis binotata (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum




April 22

2019 April 22


   Jochen Möhr writes:

This morning’s assemblage:

10 Venusia obsoleta

4 Hydriomena manzanita

2 Anticlea vasiliata

2 Cissusa indiscreta

1 Melanolophia imitata

1 Drepanulatrix monicaria

1 Eupithecia sp.

I attach a picture of the A. vasiliata and one each of the C. indiscreta


Jochen adds:  I see quite a few Sara Orangetips, some here at home and regularly when I drive towards town via Esquimalt Lagoon and Ocean Boulevard.


Cissusa indiscreta (Lep.: Erebidae – Erebinae)  Jochen Möhr

Cissusa indiscreta (Lep.: Erebidae – Erebinae)  Jochen Möhr

Anticlea vasiliata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


   Thanks to Libby Avis for identifying the Cissusa.  Libby writes from Port Alberni:  We got our first Feralia comstocki and Anticlea vasiliata last night. Also saw our first Sara Orangetips at the Somass Estuary at the weekend. And a Grey Hairstreak from the Alberni Valley, April 20th 2019.

Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Rick Avis


April 21

2019 April 21

Ron Flower writes:  We went back to the  Goldstream River yesterday April 20 at 1:30 pm. I got one shot of the Sexton Beetle before it flew away. We also saw 8 Western Spring Azures, 2 Satyr Commas, 2 Propertius Duskywings and 1 Mourning Cloak .

Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Ron Flower

   Charlene Wood writes: This beetle is Nicrophorus defodiens. Black antennal club and base of elytral epipleuron entirely black whereas the epipluron base is orange in the similar looking N. vespilloides, which has a black antennal club (with fine white hairs on the 9th and 10th antennal segments).

   This species doesn’t bury its carrion in the soil, rather they conceal them under leaf litter or debris. The orange spots on the elytra are larger and more connected in other parts of its North American range, but coastal forms often have reduced spots on the elytra, as shown in yours.

Sexton beetle  Nicrophorus defodiens (Col.: Silphidae) Ron Flower

    Mike Yip writes from Nanoose:  Spent an hour at the Fairwinds Garry Oak meadows yesterday morning and saw at least a dozen Propertius Duskywings. The first one was basking on the grass and moss in one particular spot and it returned there regardless of the many distractions such as other duskywings. About six were seen nectaring on Blue-eyed Susan and one was on an oak branch but I don’t know if it oviposited. The only other species there was a Western Brown Elfin.   Later, two Western Spring Azures were seen on the Cross Road trail.


Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep. Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip

Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep. Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip


Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep. Hesperiidae)  Mike Yip

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

   Gordon Hart writes:  On Saturday, April 20, we had a good day for butterflies. There was one fresh Cabbage White, one Mourning Cloak, at least two Western Spring Azures, and at least three commas, and I think all were Satyr Commas. I have attached a photo of the Cabbage White and a Satyr Comma. There were several  Mesoleuca gratulata flying around. We still have not seen any Orangetips.

Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Gordon Hart

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Kirsten Mills and I saw a Moss’s Elfin and up to six Western Spring Azures on the Panhandle Trail near Francis Park today, April 21.

  Rosemary Jorna writes:  This very small jumping spider is living in a cherry tree in our Kemp Lake garden photographed April 20..

Jumping spider  (Ara.:  Salticidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Jumping spider  (Ara.:  Salticidae)  Rosemary Jorna


   Rosemary writes:   The small spider below was resting on the rail of the bridge over Charters Creek on April 19, 2019 (Sooke River Road).   Robb Bennett writes: This is an ant-mimicking gnaphosid, a species of Sergiolus. Most probably Sergiolus columbianus but could be S. montanus.

Sergiolus(probably columbianus)  (Ara.: Gnaphosidae)  Rosemary Jorna