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.

July 18

2021 June 18

   Marie O’Shaughnessy was up at Mount Tolmie on June 16 around 6 pm and she saw 2 Painted Ladies as well as 3 Western Tiger Swallowtails  feasting on blossoms of the Blackberry bushes and Mock Orange. The Painted Lady was on the concrete reservoir at the summit. She also saw a Sheep Moth caterpillar.

Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy


Jeremy Tatum comments:  This, I think, is an unmistakeable rutuluseurymedon is much paler and the black stripes are thicker.   Nevertheless, observers, including myself, sometimes find that we are not certain which of our two species of tiger swallowtail we are seeing.  Is the backfround colour pale enough for eurymedon?  Is it yellow enough for rutulus?  Are the black stripes thick enough for eurymedon?  Thin enough for rutulus?  Here are two criteria that I use, in addition to the paleness or brightness of the yellow.  Viewers may see a recent close-up of eurymedon on May 27 morning.


  1. Look at the first (proximal – i.e. starting from the body) yellow stripe.  In rutulus it is wider than the adjacent (next outward) black stripe.  In eurymedon it is narrower.


  1. Look at the crescent immediately at the base of the “tail” on the hindwing.  In rutulus it is yellow.  It eurymedon it is red.


I don’t guarantee that from now on no one (especially not myself) will ever be uncertain again! Maybe, by looking at the two pictures, viewers can suggest other useful criteria.


Also photographed by Marie:


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


Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae) Marie O’Shaughnessy


This caterpillar, warns Jeremy Tatum, can give you a rash if you handle it.


The following day, June 17, Jeremy Tatum reported three Painted Ladies near the Jeffery Pine on Mount Tolmie, 6:00 pm.


Jeff Gaskin writes:  Kirsten Mills and I saw a rather ragged Satyr Comma on June 16, at Beckwith Park.   It was near the ponds.


Rosemary Jorna had a productive June 17 in the Kemp Lake area and Sooke Potholes:


Goldenrod Crab Spider , Kemp Lake area

Azure, Sooke Potholes
Azure, Kemp Lake area
Swallowtail,Kemp Lake area


Golden Rod Crab Spider Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Rosemary Jorna


Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Rosemary


OK!, writes Jeremy Tatum – before you look at the label on the next one  – were you paying attention?!

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