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.

June – July 2014

2014 July 30

Some of us are noticing how very scarce butterflies of any sort are flying just now. Even Tiger Swallowtails, Lorquin’s Admirals and Pine Whites seem to be scarce. The best bet for butterflies is to look at the very summits of some of our local hills after six in the evening to see Painted Ladies. But have a look at the July 14 entry for further suggestions. There are several species of butterfly that have not been mentioned in this year’s Alerts – but you have to go out into the countryside to find them.

Annie Pang sends photographs of Cosmia praeacuta from the Gorge/Tillicum area, July 19.

Cosmia praeacuta (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang

Cosmia praeacuta (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang

Jeff Gaskin writes: On Sunday July 27, around 6 pm. there were an Anise Swallowtail, a Red Admiral, and 2 Painted Ladies on or flying around the cement reservoir on Mt. Tolmie – to which Jeremy Tatum adds: There were also Painted Ladies on the top of Christmas Hill at the same time.

Val George writes: Here is my butterfly list for the official July count done for Mt Douglas and the surrounding area; I did the count July 27.

Anise Swallowtail 2 (summit), Cabbage White 11, Lorquin’s Admiral 1, Painted Lady 4 (summit), Pine White 8, Western Tiger Swallowtail 6, Woodland Skipper 1.

Val also attaches a photo of a female Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) taken on July 25 behind the Red Barn Market on West Saanich Rd.

Female Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis (Odo.: Libellulidae) Val George


Jeremy Tatum writes that the Satyr Comma caterpillar shown on July 26 pupated on July 28 and made a nice chrysalis:

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep. Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum

2014 July 26

Identification Problems
Colias, Polygonia, Yponomeuta
Jeremy Tatum

Colias, the sulphur butterflies. Pristine fresh males might be easy if one sees both upper and undersides. Unfortunately, sulphurs almost always settle and rest with their wings closed, so we don’t often get a good prolonged look at the uppersides. Females of several of the Colias species have an occasional-to-common white form, and white females are perhaps the most difficult forms to identify. I believe that Aziza Cooper’s July 21 butterfly (see July 22 posting) is a white female, so we have a problem!

The plausible possibilities in our area are

Western Sulphur C. occidentalis
Clouded Sulphur C. philodice
Orange Sulphur C. eurytheme

I hope I’m not too hasty, but I don’t think Aziza’s butterfly is occidentalis,so we are left with the other two. I cannot say that I am certain which of the two it is. In most pictures that I have seen of the two species, the hindwing underside of those labelled (rightly or wrongly!) as eurytheme has a fairly conspicuous row of submarginal spots. These spots are much less bold in pictures that are supposed to be philodice. Such spots are almost completely absent in Aziza’s photo. Based on this I’d agree with Aziza that her butterfly is more likely to be philodice, the Clouded Sulphur. We should be on the look-out for more of these butterflies. If you can see conspicuous orange on a male upperside, it’ll be Eurytheme.


Polygonia, the commas (formerly anglewings). I find these very difficult, and Val George has set us a problem with his July 13 upper and underside (see July 17 posting).

The plausible possibilities in our area are

Satyr Comma P. satyrus
Green Comma P. faunus
Grey Comma P. progne
Oreas Comma P. oreas
Hoary Comma P. gracilis
“Zephyr” Comma P. zephyrus

Val’s photos are certainly not satyrus or faunus, while progne has never been recorded anywhere near Vancouver Island.

Not everyone regards “zephyrus” as a separate species, and on this site I am regarding the “Zephyr” Comma as a subspecies (the one that is supposed to occur on Vancouver Island) of the Hoary Comma, and I call it P. gracilis zephyrus. The problem of comma identification is already hard enough without trying to deal with subspecies, so, for Val’s butterfly, we have to decide between P. oreas and P. gracilis. I’m not sure myself, and I’d like to see to two species side by side.  Val is leaning towards gracilis.  We’d welcome comments.


Yponomeuta, the small ermine moths. The adults of the species Y. malinellus and Y. padella are similar. Whether they are distinguishable other than by dissection I am not yet sure. I’ll try to rear some next year. Eric LaGasa, Washington micro expert, agrees with my suggestion that larvae feeding on Malus are likely to be malinellus, while larvae feeding on Crataegus are likely to be padella. Also the cocoons are distinct. The cocoon of malinellus is dense, white and opaque, whereas that of padella is a flimsy net-like structure. I labelled most examples that appeared earlier on this site as malinellus. However, the foodplant of some of them was known to be Crataegus, so when I get round to it (perhaps not too far in the future) I should re-label these as padella.


Annie Pang writes: I got this picture on July 21st at Gorge Park. I saw the wasp drop to the ground carrying this spider which I had identified as possibly a Misumena vatia although it would be hard to tell with this wasp eating it!

Jeremy Tatum comments: There is a family of wasps, Pompilidae, that specializes in hunting spiders, but this is not one of them. It is a vespid, Polistes sp. Interesting. I agree with Annie that the spider may well be Misumena vatia, but it is probably not safe to label it as such.

Paper wasp Polistes sp. (Hym.: Vespidae) with spider. Annie Pang

Jeremy Tatum writes: Here is an unusually white form of the caterpillar of a Satyr Comma from Lochside Drive north of Blenkinsop Lake, July 24.

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum


Jeremy Tatum writes: On July 25 there were a Painted Lady and a Red Admiral on the Mount Tolmie reservoir. It is best to go after about 6:00 pm to see these late-afternoon hill-topping nymphalids.

Jeff Gaskin writes: On July 17, Nairn Hollett tells me that Government House had the following butterflies: 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 4 Western Tiger Swallowtails, and 2 Lorquin’s Admirals. Today in Beacon Hill Park on July 22, in the southern woods the best I could come up with was 1 Western Tiger Swallowtail.

Jeremy Tatum writes: Viewers may have seen a bold headline in the July 23 Times-Colonist: Burrowing Caterpillars Scar Lilacs. The species concerned is Gracillaria syringella (Lep.: Gracillariidae), also known as Caloptilia syringella. A close-up of an adult, photographed by Terry Thormin, appeared on this site on 2010 May 17.

Libby Avis writes from Alberni: Got Anarta (formerly Dicestra) farnhami on July 19th; it’s the first time I’ve seen it here. Also Melanchra adjuncta on July 17th. Have only seen it once before and that was in 2008.

Anarta farnhami (Lep.: Noctuidae) Libby Avis

Melanchra adjuncta (Lep.: Noctuidae) Libby Avis


Morgan Davies sends a photo of Apamea amputatrix from a light trap on Sidney Island, July 2.

Apamea amputatrix (Lep.: Noctuidae) Morgan Davies

2014 July 22

Colias alert! Aziza Cooper reports two or three sulphur butterflies at Panama Flats on July 21. She photographed one of them – below. Not 100 percent sure of the exact species yet, but we’ll post as soon as we know for sure. In the meantime, I thought I ought not to delay in posting the sighting. The one below is nectaring at bindweed. It may also be attracted to clovers, melilot and lucerne.

Sulphur Colias sp. (Lep.: Pieridae) Aziza Cooper

The Monarch that was at Panama Flats on Sunday, July 20, hasn’t been seen again – but keep a look-out and let us know.

Annie Pang sends photos of two nice moths from her home in the Gorge/Tillicum area, July 7.

Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang

Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang

Girdler Moth Dargida procinctus (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang

Jeremy Tatum writes: The moth below is a very tiny moth, and I couldn’t get it as sharp as I would have liked. Viewers will have often noticed a swollen gall at the base of the midrib of the leaves of Rhamnus purshiana. This is caused by the caterpillar of a moth of the family Cosmopterygidae, Sorhagenia nimbosa.

Sorhagenia nimbosa (Lep.: Cosmopterygidae) Jeremy Tatum

Jeff Gaskin writes: In Cuthbert Holmes Park today, July 21, there were 11 Lorquin’s Admirals, 3 Pine Whites and 1 Woodland Skipper. Western Tiger Swallowtails seem to be petering out – there was one on the 500 block of Gorge road West today, and only one in Gorge Park on Saturday July the 19th. In Cecilia Ravine were just 2 Lorquin’s Admirals, 1 Woodland Skipper, and 8 Cabbage Whites.

2014 July 20

Monarch!!! Jeremy Tatum saw one, pristine fresh, at Panama Flats today. Honest!
No kidding! Has anyone else seen one? Please do let us know.

Jeff Gaskin writes: This morning, July 17th, there was a Woodland Skipper on lavender in a playground at the end of Cecilia Avenue, just to the north of Cecilia Ravine in the Burnside-Gorge Community.

Bill Katz sends a photo of a small ermine moth of the genus Yponomeuta, from Summit Hill. The exact species is a bit difficult to determine, but this one looks more like Y. malinellus, whose caterpillar feeds on apple (including crab-apple) leaves.

Yponomeuta malinellus (Lep.: Yponomeutidae) Bill Katz

Jeremy Tatum writes: Visitors to Panama Flats will notice a strikingly striped leaf beetle on the Beggarticks, a.k.a Bur Marigold, a.k.a. Bidens. This is Calligrapha californica. I managed to photograph one of them on July 20.

Calligrapha californica (Col.: Chrysomelidae) Jeremy Tatum

2014 July 17

Jeff Gaskin reports that the Tuesday Group saw at least 6 Pine Whites at Witty’s Lagoon on July 15, at about the same time that Jeremy Tatum saw his first at UVic, where there are now lots of them. Jeff also noted them around Calvert Park and Hector Road the following day.

Still lots of Painted Ladies in the evenings on the reservoir or near the Jeffery Pine on Mount Tolmie. Most are rather worn, but one on July 16 was pristine fresh.

Val George reports a Hudsonian Whiteface from San Juan Ridge (near Jordan River), July 13. Also from there a comma believed to be a Hoary Comma. (Jeremy Tatum comments: I still don’t know how to tell the difference between a Hoary Comma and an Oreas Comma. If anyone has any comments on the butterfly in Val’s photos, do let us know.)

Hudsonian Whiteface Leucorrhinia hudsonica (Odo.: Libellulidae) Val George

Hoary Comma Polygonia gracilis (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Val George

Hoary Comma Polygonia gracilis (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Val George

There are some butterflies to look out for that we haven’t yet had on this site this year.
Great Arctic, Common Wood Nymph, Hydaspe Fritillary, Margined White, Dun Skipper.

Great Arctic. This is an even year, so this is when they are supposed to be around. Dates when they have been previously reported to this site are July 5 and 10, 2012, and July 9, 2013 (an odd year!). This, therefore, is the time of year. I went up Mount Wells
(for probably the last time!) on July 15, but I drew blank. I got there at 8:00 am, hoping to beat the heat, but it was dangerously hot even at that time in the morning. The only butterflies I saw there were a few Woodland Skippers.

Common Wood Nymph. You might try the DND grounds near the RPBO – but you’ll need permission. Or the railway line north of Chemainus. A long shot – the DAO.

Hydaspe Fritillary. Perhaps way along the hydro line by Spectacle Lake.

Margined White – maybe the railway line north of Malahat station, or Bright Angel Park.

Dun Skipper. You could try the Kinsol trestle.

2014 July 14

Saturday, July 19
Dragonflies in the Wild
Last summer, entomologist Gord Hutchings took us out to the ponds at Elk/Beaver Lake and we enjoyed close-up looks at many of the dragonfly wonders that live here. This year we will head out to the wilds for an all-day outing. We shall also check out birds as we travel through the forest. Consider this a Dragonfly and Bird Extravaganza! Our planned location will probably be around the Nanaimo Lakes area but the final destination will be chosen closer to the date. Ideally we will be near a pond, a river and a lake to get the most diversity of species, birds and dragonflies. Gord has seen some rather uncommon dragonflies in that rich area. The success of this field trip depends on its being a sunny day as they are only active when it is nice out. We will be in some very rough terrain around the edges of waterways, so you might wish to bring your gumboots, and a hiking stick might be good as well. Bring a lunch for the all-day outing. We will probably meet at 7:00 a.m. at Helmcken Park & Ride to carpool. Contact Agnes at or 250-721-0634 to register or for more information.

Saturday, July 19 to Sunday, July 27
We are always looking for keen-eyed volunteers to submit butterfly records. If you would like to participate, please contact Aziza Cooper at

Jeremy Tatum writes: At this time of year, butterflies are mostly Western Tiger Swallowtails and Lorquin’s Admirals. However in the late afternoon (say about 6 o’clock) nymphalids are hill-topping. Thus in the last few days (written on July 14) Painted Ladies have been seen at the tops of Mount Tolmie, Christmas Hill and Highrock Park. Doubtless they are to be found at the tops of other hills, too, as well as possibly some other butterflies. On July 13 I saw a Mourning Cloak at Rithet’s Bog.

Jeff Gaskin writes: This morning, Sat. July 12, there was a Painted Lady on a buddleia bush along with swallowtails, and a Lorquin’s Admiral at 410 Gorge Road West. Nearby but down a block on Gorge Road was a Pale Tiger Swallowtail.

Bill Katz adds a new moth to this site with a photo of Plemyra georgii from Goldstream Park on July 13. Jeremy Tatum photographed another Enargia infumata at his Saanich apartment on July 14. Not sure whether the slightly different coluur of this moth from the July 3 one is a real colour difference between the moths, or part of the vagaries of digital photography.

Plemyra georgii (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz

Enargia infumata (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum

2014 July 10

Val George reports 2 Painted Ladies and a Red Admiral on the reservoir at the summit of Mt Tolmie on July 8 (photos attached).

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Val George

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Val George

Jeff Gaskin reports 4 Painted Ladies, 1 Pale Tiger Swallowtail, several Western Tiger Swallowtails and lots of Lorquin’s Admirals on Mount Tolmie on July 7.

Jeremy Tatum writes: I saw an Anise Swallowtail at Island View Beach on July 6. In the days when this was still a common butterfly, the caterpillars at IVB used to feed on Lomatium and Glehnia.

Every morning now there are several Common Emerald moths outside my apartment. On July 7 they were joined there by a Eulithis xylina.

Eulithis xylina (Lep.: Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

Jochen Moehr sends a photo of a very strange creature from Metchosin. It is a clearwing moth of the family Sesiidae. Claudia Copley suggested that it is Synanthedon novaroensis, and, after further study, I’m almost certain that that is what it is. The larva apparently feeds in the cambium layer of various pines and Douglas Fir. Its presence can be detected by a mass of mixed pitch and frass on the tree trunk. A most interesting find.

Synanthedon novaroensis (Lep.: Sesiidae) Jochen Moehr

Jeremy Tatum found a third-instar Polyphemus caterpillar on Cornus stolonifera in Lochside Drive north of Blenkinsop Lake on July 8. There was also a Satyr Comma nearby.

Polyphemus Moth Antheraea polyphemus (Lep.: Saturniidae) Jeremy Tatum

2014 July 6

Colias alert! Jeff Gaskin writes: Today around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 6, there was a sulphur butterfly flying low along Logan Avenue and heading towards Harriet Road which is in the Gorge/Burnside Road community.

Jeremy Tatum responds: Sulphurs are rare visitors to the Victoria area, and we cannot be sure which species this was. Butterfly enthusiasts are asked to look out for sulphurs, in the Gorge area or anywhere else and let us know if they see any, and see if they can identify the species. (Don’t ask me how – I dunno!)

Bill Katz sends a photo of Eulithis xylina from his Summit Hill garage. Moths of this genus are known as “phoenix” moths.

Eulithis xylina (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz

It was totally cloudy at the top of Mount Tolmie when a few butterfly enthusiasts gathered there on the morning of July 6, and no butterflies turned up then. However, by 6:00 in the evening it was warm and sunny and the local nymphalids were hill-topping. There was several Lorquin’s Admirals and Painted Ladies (some of the latter quite worn but still flying strongly) and at least one Red Admiral, near the entrance to the reservoir.

Jeremy Tatum writes: I usually assume that any comma seen at UVic is, by default, a Satyr Comma, so I was surprised on Saturday (July 5) to find a chrysalis of the Green Comma on a willow there.

Green Comma Polygonia faunus (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Jeremy Tatum



2014 July 3

Sunday, July 6
Monthly Butterfly Outing

Join Aziza Cooper on the first of a series of Butterfly outings. She hopes to get out on the first Sunday in each month to search for butterflies. Each outing is intended to help us learn more about our local butterflies. This outing is weather dependent. It needs to be warm and sunny to make it worthwhile. We will meet near the top of Mount Tolmie (off Cedar Hill Cross Road) and decide where to go from there. Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the main parking lot just north of the summit. Contact Aziza at 250-516-7703 or email Agnes at thelynns at for more information. (I believe that Rick Schortinghuis will be leading this trip.)

Val George was on Mount Douglas on June 25, doing the monthly Butterfly Count, and he scored: 22 Western Tiger Swallowtails, 3 Pale Swallowtails, 1 Anise Swallowtail (summit), 15 Cabbage Whites, 5 Painted Ladies (summit), 1 Propertius Duskywing (summit), 1 Mourning Cloak, 5 Lorquin’s Admirals, c50 European (Essex) Skippers.

Jeremy Tatum photographed a moth, Enargia infumata at his Saanich apartment on July 1. The caterpillar feeds on the leaves of cottonwood. He writes: There seem to be lots of Common Emerald moths Hemithea aestivaria everywhere just now. Although there were very few Malacosoma caterpillars this spring, there was an adult M. californicum outside my apartment this morning (July 3). Satyr Commas, both adults and caterpillars, are to be found just now along Lochside Drive north of Blenkinsop Lake.

Enargia infumata (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum

Ken Vaughan sends bunch of photos of a variety of insects.

Sabulodes edwardsata (Lep.: Geometridae) Ken Vaughan

Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae) Ken Vaughan

Ellychnia hatchi (Col.: Lampyridae) Ken Vaughan

Male Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis (Odo.: Libellulidae) Ken Vaughan

Male Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae) Ken Vaughan


2014 June 30

Jeremy Tatum writes: I am now back from holidays in England. Sorry for the long gap in the Invert Alerts. I had some fancy notion that I might somehow be able to continue to operate it from England, but that proved to be beyond my limited computer abilities. We should be back in business now, so keep your reports and pictures coming in.

I saw lots of butterflies in England, and I thank Sussex butterfly enthusiast David Harris for taking me out to show me so many of them on the South Downs.

One of the butterflies I saw was the genuine Ringlet butterfly – named for the conspicuous “ringlet” marks on the undersides of its wings. The Ringlet is not at all like our local butterfly that we illogically call the (Adjective) “Ringlet”. Our butterfly is really a local population of the widespread Holarctic Large Heath Coenonympha tullia. This species unsurprisingly varies quite a lot over its wide range, and many of these minor varieties have received separate specific names from overenthusiastic taxonomists. Our Vancouver Island population is distinguished by having no trace of a “ringlet” mark at all! The immature stages are indistinguishable from those of the European populations.

I made a mistake in the June 10 posting, dismissing a noctuid moth photographed by Aziza Cooper as a mere “micro”, probably a crambid. I apologize to Aziza and most particularly to the moth for this mistake. Libby Avis has identified it for us as a noctuid, Protodeltotes albildula. I have corrected the text and caption in the June 10 posting.

During the past two weeks while I was away I received a few reports, as follows.

June 11. Jeff Gaskin. Painted Ladies on Christmas Hill.
June 14. Ian Cruickshank. A Ceanothus Silk Moth at East Sooke Park.
June 15. Julie Michaux. A Large Yellow Underwing in her Saanich Garden.
June 17. Jeff Gaskin. Seven or more Pale Tiger Swallowtails along Stebbings Road,
Shawnigan Lake area, as well as a few late Western Spring Azures.
Also, a Mourning Cloak at Providence Farm, Duncan.
June 21. Bill Katz sent photos from Finnerty Gardens and Summit Hill of the moths
Spilosoma virginica, Eurrhypara hortulata, Idaea dimidiata and Udea profundalis. The first two are shown below.
June 21. Jeff Gaskin. Cuthbert Homes Park. 20 Essex Skippers, 13 Lorquin’s
Admirals, 1 Western Spring Azure, 1 Mourning Cloak.
June 22 Sandra Raftery. Michell Nursery, Lochside Drive. White-lined Hawk Moth.
June 23 Bill Katz. Moths at Summit Hill Callizzia amorata, Hedya nubiferana, Notocelia sp.
June 25 Jeff Gaskin. Panama Flats (not including Panama Hill), 213 Essex Skippers.
Colquitz River Park, 10 Western Tiger Swallowtails and 15 Lorquin’s Admirals.
June 30 Jeremy Tatum. Mount Tolmie, near the Jeffery Pine, a Painted Lady.


Spilosoma virginica (Lep.:Erebidae – Arctiinae) Bill Katz

Small Magpie Moth Eurrhypara hortulata (Lep.: Crambidae) Bill Katz

White-lined Hawk Moth Hyles lineata (Lep.: Sphingidae) Sandra Raftery


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.:Noctuidae) Julie Michaux



2014 June 10

A reminder – Jeremy Tatum will be away on holiday from now to the end of the month, so the Invertebrate Alert site service will be somewhere between spotty and nonexistent during that period. (See June 8 posting.) If I find a computer while I’m away, I may be able to do something. Otherwise, save your reports of sightings and photos. In the meantime, here are two notices from the VNHS calendar to keep you busy. Note that it is very probable that you will find some butterflies in Duncan that you won’t find in Victoria.

Sunday, June 15
Field Trip (LEVEL 2/3)
Duncan Butterflies

Join us on our search for the amazing array of butterflies in this area. This trip is weather dependent. It needs to be sunny to make it worthwhile. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Helmcken Park and Ride to car-pool or at 10:00 a.m. at the entrance to the boardwalk at Somenos Marsh in Duncan (off the highway north of Beverly). Contact Rick at 250-885-2454 if the weather is doubtful or for more information.

Saturday, June 21 to Sunday, June 29
We are always looking for keen-eyed volunteers to submit butterfly records. If you would like to participate, please contact Aziza Cooper at


Aziza Cooper writes: Today (June 8) I counted 62 Vancouver Island Ringlets at the Quick’s Bottom site on the trail between Markham Road and Wilkinson Road. Several times 5 or more were in the air at once. Three more ringlets flushed out of the grassy field north of Layritz Park. Another ringlet was on private property in another field south of Quick’s Bottom. It looks like they’re having a very good year. The only other butterfly I saw today was a Lorquin’s Admiral. I’ve attached a photo of a moth I found in the grass at the field north of Layritz Park.

Jeff Gaskin also noted the ringlets at Layritz Park on June 9, but missed them at Quick’s! Evidently you have to be there at the right time!

Jeremy Tatum comments. This is really good news about these butterflies. What to call them is a bit of a problem, since they have been subject to so much taxonomic revision and name-changing over the years. I take the conservative view and I call all the populations of this very wide-ranging butterfly Coenonympha tullia, and the English name Large Heath. Regardless, it is very good news to hear about this healthy population at Quick’s Bottom. Libby Avis has kindly identified Aziza’s moth as Protodeltote albidula.  She writes: They typically come to rest upside down on a stalk of grass – just like Aziza’s photo

Protodeltote albidula (Lep.: Noctuidae) Aziza Cooper

Jeremy continues: I visited Quick’s Bottom on June 9 and I saw a few tullia there, as well as three Mourning Cloaks. The Reed Canary Grass there is at least as high as an elephant’s eye, and very hard for a hay-fever sufferer. In fact the grass is so high there that I couldn’t reach the birdwatching platform at Quick’s. I saw a couple of nice moth caterpillars, both on rose flowers – Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria, and Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua. At Rithet’s Bog I saw a late Western Spring Azure.
On June 10 I found a caterpillar (shown below) of Behrensia conchiformis on Snowberry at Mount Tolmie.

Behrensia conchiformis (Lep.:Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum


2014 June 8

Jeremy Tatum writes: I am going on holiday on Wednesday. Back at the end of June. I may occasionally (or may not at all) have access to a computer, and may occasionally (or may not) be able to run the Invert Alert during this period. If you submit any contributions during this period, you may have to wait a while before they are posted. It may be best to save your photos and sightings until I get back.
I look forward to seeing them.

Libby Avis sends photos of Sphinx perelegans from her porch light at Port Alberni, June 7. Also on June 7, a Euclidia ardita from Mount Arrowsmith.

Sphinx perelegans (Lep.:Sphingidae) Libby Avis

Sphinx perelegans (Lep.:Sphingidae) Libby Avis

Sphinx perelegans (Lep.:Sphingidae) Libby Avis

Euclidia ardita (Lep.:Erebidae) Rick Avis

Jeremy Tatum writes: Western and Pale Tiger Swallowtails and Lorquin’s Admirals are now (June 7) being seen generally. Mourning Cloaks are still around – e.g. two on Mount Tolmie and one at Blenkinsop Lake. There were two Satyr Commas, one of which landed on me, at Bow Park. Also at Bow Park I found a congregation of dozens of Mourning Cloak caterpillars on a willow. (They are highly gregarious.) I took one home briefly to photograph it, and then took it back to join its fellows.

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.:Nymphalidae)
Jeremy Tatum

Val George writes: Butterflies at the top of Mt Douglas this afternoon, June 5: 2 Anise Swallowtails (photo), 2 Western Tiger Swallowtails, 1 Lorquin’s Admiral, 2 Propertius Duskywings, 3 Western Spring Azures, 1 Painted Lady.

Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon (Lep.:Papilionidae) Val George

Ken Vaughan sends a few pics from Swan Lake, June 6.

Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.:Nymphalidae) Ken Vaughan

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.:Nymphalidae) Ken Vaughan

Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis (Odo.:Libellulidae) Ken Vaughan

Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis (Odo.:Libellulidae) Ken Vaughan


Libby Avis sends a “mystery caterpillar” from Alberni on June 4. Any ideas, anyone?

Mystery caterpillar Libby Avis

Jeff Gaskin reports a Cedar Hairstreak from Joan Crescent on June 4, while Bruce Whittington saw several in his Ladysmith garden on June 2. Jeff reports Lorquin’s Admirals and Western Tiger Swallowtails from Esquimalt Gorge and Gorge Parks on June 5.
Looks as though Bill Katz has been exploring the genus Xanthorhoe. His X. packardata was at Finnerty Gardens, and his X. defensaria at Goldstream Park, June 3.

Xanthorhoe packardata (Lep.:Geometridae) Bill Katz

Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.:Geometridae) Bill Katz

Bill also sends a photo of a Rough Prominent from his Summit Hill garage:

Rough Prominent Nadata gibbosa (Lep.:Notodontidae) Bill Katz

2014 June 3

Jeremy Tatum writes that there were lots of butterflies (seven species) on or near the reservoir or the Jeffrey Pine on Mount Tolmie at 4:00 pm on the afternoon of June 2 – Western and Pale Tiger Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, Mourning Cloak, Lorquin’s Admiral, Propertius Duskywing, Western Spring Azure. Also on Mount Tolmie now you can find young (2nd or 3rd instar caterpillars of the woodling moth Egira crucialis in the panicles of Ocean Spray.

Rosemary Jorna writes: I saw this Cedar Hairstreak on Ayum Rd during the Sooke Symphomy Secret Garden Tour, June 1. Late in the afternoon on Tugwell Rd , Otter Point, I saw my first Lorquin’s Admiral for the year but could not get a good photo.

Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.:Lycaenidae) Rosemary Jorna

Jeremy Tatum sends pictures of a Common Emerald moth, and a chrysalis of Lorquin’s Admiral, from Mount Tolmie, June 3.

Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria (Lep.:Geometridae) Jeremy Tatum

Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.:Nymphalidae
Jeremy Tatum

2104 June 01

Jeremy Tatum reports that on May 30-31 there were Mourning Cloak, Painted Lady, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Propertius Duskywing on the Mount Tolmie reservoir. He also saw single Mourning Cloaks on May 3 at Maber Flats and at UVic. Also at UVic on May 31 a Satyr Comma and a Lorquin’s Admiral, and on June 1 there a latish Western Spring Azure. Caterpillars of Satyr Comma can now be found on Stinging Nettle at Lochside Drive north of Blenkinsop Lake, and at Swan Lake. Caterpillars of Essex (European) Skipper can now be found on Reed Canary Grass at Panama Flats.

Bill Katz photographed a Lorquin’s Admiral At Finnerty Gardens, UVic, June 1.

Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)
Bill Katz

Is anyone seeing any Malacosoma caterpillars this year? I have seen exactly one californicum and one disstria this year. Is anyone else seeing them? Sharon Godkin sent a photo of a big bunch of californicum from Powell River on the Mainland, but they seem to be almost absent from the southern part of Vancouver Island.
Rosemary Jorna sends a bunch of butterfly and damselfly photos from the Otter Point area. She also writes: We have just got back from the Sooke Symphony’s Secret
Garden Tour. There were Pale Tiger Swallowtails in the gardens from Cooper’s Cove
to French Beach The last garden in the 10000 numbers on West Coast Road had
7 of them cruising the flower beds.

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.:Nymphalidae)
Rosemary Jorna

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.:Nymphalidae)
Rosemary Jorna

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.:Nymphalidae)
Rosemary Jorna

Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.:Papilionidae)
Rosemary Jorna

Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.:Papilionidae)
Rosemary Jorna

Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.:Coenagrionidae)
Rosemary Jorna

Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.:Coenagrionidae)
Rosemary Jorna
Ken Vaughan sends some dragonflies from the Beaver Lake Ponds, May 31.

Cardinal Meadowhawk Sympetrum illotum (Odo.:Libellulidae)
Ken Vaughan

Dot-tailed Whiteface Leucorrhinia intacta (Odo.:Libelluluidae)
Ken Vaughan

Four-spotted Skimmer Libellula quadrimaculata (Odo.:Libellulidae)
Ken Vaughan


Libby Avis sends pictures of the caterpillars of Yponomeuta padella from the May 24 Metchosin Bioblitz.

Yponomeuta padella (Lep.:Yponomeutidae) Libby Avis

Yponomeuta padella (Lep.:Yponomeutidae) Libby Avis

Marie O’Shaughnessy writes: More butterflies from Government House, Monday May 26, 2014. Despite the wind these little gems did manage to alight upon the Rhodos, Ginkgo tree and other chosen delights. Found two Red Admirals which was nice. The most abundant butterfly at this time appears to be the Cabbage White as well as the Western Tiger Swallowtail.

Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.:Papilionidae) Marie O’Shaughnessy

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.:Nymphalidae) Marie O’Shaughnessy

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.:Nymphalidae) Marie O’Shaughnessy

Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.:Pieridae) Marie O’Shaughnessy

Bill Katz sends a photo of three Pandemis cerasana on Summit Hill, May 29. Two of them in a private moment, and a voyeur, or perhaps a jilted lover.

Pandemis cerasana (Lep.:Tortricidae) Bill Katz

He sends photos of two moths from Prospect Community Hall, June 1.

Spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa maculata
(Lep.:Erebidae -Arctiinae)
Bill Katz

Herald Moth Scoliopteryx libatrix
(Lep.:Erebidae – Scoliopteriginae)
Bill Katz


Jeremy Tatum sends a photo of a caterpillar of Orthosia hibisci from Blenkinsop Lake, and a caterpillar and chrysalis of a Sara Orange-tip from Munn Road.

Orthosia hibisci (Lep.:Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum

Sara Orange-tip Anthocharis sara (Lep.:Pieridae)
Jeremy Tatum

Sara Orange-tip Anthocharis sara (Lep.:Pieridae)
Jeremy Tatum