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 11

2016 April 11


   Jeremy Gatten writes:  I have an interesting moth from today that appears to be a melanistic Eupithecia graefii.  It was very sooty overall and the photo was done with the flash on, so it’s brightened up a bit.  It has the brown costa marks.  So, the Eupithecia graefii was my highlight of the day because I’ve never seen a melanistic moth before.  I don’t think any Eupithecia species is that dark, so I believe I’ve identified it right.  I find that exciting!  Other moths from yesterday at Hans Helgesen (which I didn’t even mention as the location), include: Cladara limitaria, Lithophane petulca, Feralia comstocki, Eupithecia ravocostaliata, Hydriomena nubilofasciata, and H. manzanita.


Melanistic Eupithecia graefii (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Gatten


   Nathan Fisk sends a photograph of a Western Brown Elfin sunning itself on the lawns of Abkhazi Gardens, April 9.


Western Brown Elfin  Incisalia iroides  (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Nathan Fisk



   Annie Pang sends interesting photographs of Mesoleuca gratulata (White-ribbon Carpet) nectaring at the tiny flowers of Cleavers (Goosegrass) Galium aparine at Gorge Park.

Mesoleuca gratulata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Annie Pang


Mesoleuca gratulata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Annie Pang















April 10

2016 April 10


   Just a gentle reminder:   It is helpful, when reporting an invertebrate, to give the species, where it was seen, and the date. (Not “yesterday”, or “this evening”  –  but the date!)  If you don’t know the species, send a photograph, if you can, and we’ll do our best.  But an unidentified species without a photograph is a bit hard to post!  And please also remember that, when sending a photograph, it is a HUGE, HUGE help if you would send the photograph as an attachment rather than in the body of the message!   Thanks to all.


   Ron Flower writes:  Today, Sunday April 10th  [thank you!  – Jeremy], at Prospect Lake power lines I saw numerous Western Spring Azures and Sara Orangetips.  The highlight was a Two-banded Grizzled Skipper (also called “checkered” skipper – though on this site we are using the word “grizzled” for all Pyrgus skippers and “chequered” for Carterocephalus skippers, rather than mixing them haphazardly.   Jeremy].  The skipper was on the power line trail opposite from where the Yellow-breasted Chat was a few years ago down in a deep ravine area.



April 9

2016 April 9


   Rebecca Reader-Lee writes: Yesterday (April 8), I found this moth at our house (North Highlands). I’m sure it’s not unusual as I see them often.  [Jeremy Tatum responds:  Well, it’s Egira rubrica, and it’s certainly not one I see very often!  A nice one to get!]


Egira rubrica (Lep.: Noctuidae)

Rebecca Reader-Lee


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Seen today, April 9, a Mourning Cloak perched on a rock across the lawn from the Swan Lake Nature House.  Bill Savale and Jeremy Tatum also report single Mourning Cloaks today, from Mount Tolmie and from Spectacle Lake, as well as a Moss’s Elfin at Spectacle Lake.


Mourning Cloak  Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.:  Noctuidae)  Aziza Cooper

April 8

2016 April 8


   Thomas Barbin sends a remarkable photograph of a nomad bee (one of several groups of cleptoparasitic bees also known as cuckoo bees), from the Highlands District yesterday. Cleptoparasites lay their eggs in the nests of other species of bee or wasp, and often resemble their hosts closely.


Nomad bee Nomada sp. (Hym.: Apidae – Nomadinae)   Thomas Barbin


Gordon Hart writes from Highlands District:  Today we had five butterfly species in the yard: a Cabbage White, 2 Western Spring Azures, a Mourning Cloak, a Moss’s Elfin and two commas, Green Commas, I think. [Agreed!  Jeremy] I am attaching a photo of the elfin since it was so colourful . The FW seemed almost blue-grey. The commas who kept skirmishing over a patch of brambles looked like Green Commas, although I notice the one I sent from April 2 has two small horizontal white bars between two vertical black bars on the FW. Today’s subjects don’t have the white bars.

Green Comma Polygonia faunus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Gordon Hart

Moss’s Elfin Incisalia mossii (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Gordon Hart

   Val George writes:  Mount Tolmie this afternoon, April 7:  One each of California Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Mourning Cloak.

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



Annie Pang sends a picture of a sawfly, probably Trichiosoma triangulum, from Victoria, April 6.  As with her recent picture of the moth Mesoleuca gratulata, she appears to have caught it in the act of ovipositing.


 Sawfly, probably Trichiosoma triangulum (Hym.: Cimbicidae)  Annie Pang


Mike Yip writes from Nanoose Bay:  First-of-year last week 2 Sara Orangetips and 1 Western Brown Elfin. Today first-of-year  5  Spring Azures & 2 Western Pine Elfins.




Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Mike Yip

Western Pine Elfin Incisalia eryphon (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Mike Yip