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.

2024 April 15 evening

2024 April 15 evening

   Although we had a warm day yesterday, with several butterflies seen, today there has been a bitterly cold wind, and no one hes reported any.  However I find that I overlooked an eletter from Gordon Hart yesterday, April 14, reporting that at his Highlands home he saw four Green Commas all at the same time in the late afternoon in a sunny patch. There were also Mourning Cloaks and Western Spring Azures.

Jeremy Tatum writes: Re Ken Vaughan’s comma butterfly reported in this morning’s Invert Alert, I’m still hoping for an expert opinion, but at the moment I am pretty much convinced that it is indeed an Oreas Comma.   Quite an exciting find!  Let us all keep a good look-out for this species.





2024 April 15 morning

2024 April 15 morning

Ian Cooper writes:  Here are a few more pictures from my April 12 excursion/photoshoot at *Colquitz River Park and the #GG Trail in View Royal:

I’m curious to see what, if anything, will emerge from this suspected spider egg sac, first spotted on a broken bit of blow-down branch by the 9 km marker on the GG trail in View Royal on March 29. To improve the egg sac’s chance of survival, I relocated the broken branch to a spot a little way up the embankment, where I stuck it into the leaflitter.

#Unknown spider egg sac      Ian Cooper

Below is the egg sac normally seen guarded by its mother, a Pimoa altioculata, whose pictures have appeared on this site previously. She fled from view as I tried to get a close up shot of her and her egg sac on the Galloping Goose Trail in View Royal.

#Egg sac of Pimoa altioculata (Ara.: Pimoidae)  Ian Cooper

*Common Chrysalis Snail – Lauria cylindracea – (Pul.: Lauriidae)   Ian Cooper

*Harvestman (Opiliones)   Ian Cooper

*Unidentified theridiid (cobweb weaver) (Ara.: Theridiidae) Ian Cooper
(Could this be another Rugathodes sexpunctatus?)

# Linyphiine spider (Ara.:  Linyphiidae – Linyphiinae)   Ian Cooper



Ken Vaughan sends this photograph of a comma from Mount Tolmie, April 14.    It is often quite difficult to identify commas from the upperside alone, so what do you think this one is?  Ken suggests oreas, and Gordon Hart points out the great similarity between Ken’s butterfly and the photograph of oreas in Yip and Miskelly’s book.  We therefore ask observers to keep a good look out for, and even make a special search for, any comma on Mount Tolmie, and try to get a glimpse of the underside.

Comma.  Is this Polygonia oreas?  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ken Vaughan

   And, while on the subject of keeping a special lookout for particular butterflies, we need some sightings of Moss’s Elfin!

Aziza Cooper writes:  On April 12 at Beacon Hill Park, I saw one Western Spring Azure and one Cabbage White.   At Mount Tolmie reservoir on April 13 there were two California Tortoiseshells and one Mourning Cloak. A wasp was next to the reservoir.  At Beacon Hill Park on April 14 there was one Cabbage White.   The tortoiseshell below seems to be the same one that was photographed by Marie O’Shaughnessy a couple of days ago!


California Tortoiseshell  Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper

Vespula germanica/pensylvanica  (Hym.: Vespidae)  Aziza Cooper



2024 April 14 evening

2024 April 14 evening

   This moth emerged today – reared from a caterpillar found by Ian Cooper on Snowberry.  Released on Mount Tolmie.

Euceratia securella  (Lep.:  Ypsolophidae)  Jeremy Tatum

Moths of this genus were formerly classified in the Family Plutellidae.  A new species, E. intermedia, has recently been erected.  I don’t know yet (writes Jeremy Tatum) how to distinguish it from securella.  However, so far, intermedia has been described only from California.  According to the formal description: “ dark brown markings are present on the forewing of E. securella but absent on those of E. intermedia and E. castella”.   That seems to make our one securella.


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Today, April 14, I saw Marie’s California Tortoiseshell still on the Mount Tolmie reservoir.

Jeff Gaskin writes:  I found a Mourning Cloak behind Tillicum Mall in Cuthbert Holmes Park around 1:15 p.m. today, April 14.

Wendy Ansell writes:  Today (Apr. 14) at and near to Rithet’s Bog I saw

2 Mourning Cloaks

1 Western Spring Azure








2024 April 14 morning

2024 April 14 morning

   Marie O’Shaughnessy writes:  On April 13 I went up to Mount Douglas at 3:00 pm and saw three Sara Orangetips, but they weren’t putting down at all.  Very active and long gaps between sightings.

I had better luck at 5:30 pm at Mount Tolmie. When I arrived, there was one very worn California Tortoiseshell on the pathway outside the reservoir railings and a Western Spring Azure resting or nectaring on the Oregon Grape flowers.

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)
Marie O’Shaughnessy

Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)
Marie O’Shaughnessy


Jeremy Tatum found this woodling moth on the wall of his apartment building in Saanich this morning, April 14:

Egira curialis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


2024 April 13

2024 April13

   Although we have had some sunny days recently, butterflies still seem to be scarce, so maybe the temperature needs to be just one or two degrees warmer.  However, writes Jeremy Tatum, I saw my first Cabbage Whites of the year today.  One at Carey Road, one at Pear Street, both in Saanich.  Cabbage Whites may not be the most spectacular and glamorous of butterflies, but it was a delight to see them after several butterflyless months.