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.

March 31 evening

2016 March 31  evening


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Late afternoon today – three California Tortoiseshells at the top of Mount Tolmie.   One at the top of Christmas Hill, as well as two (or three?) Grey Hairstreaks, and three Sara Orangetips.  The hairstreaks were hill-topping, alternating between sunning themselves and cavorting in flight with each other or with the California Tortoiseshell. In spite of their small size, they should be easy to find – and perhaps not impossible to photograph.

March 31 morning

2016 March 31 morning


   NOTICE:  Some viewers have been having trouble either viewing this site, or in submitting contributions.  We are trying to sort things out, but at present I think the best way to view the site is to go to the VNHS site , look for POPULAR ITEMS, and click on Invertebrate Alert. To submit items (recent photos or sightings), send them to



   Nathan Fisk writes:  What a day (March 30)!  Western Spring Azure, Sara Orangetips and Cabbage Whites all moving about. Found this flyer as well. All in the Garry Oak learning meadow at Fort Rodd Hill.


Jeremy Tatum responds:  I think we’d need to see a little bit more of the moth to be quite certain what it is.  It is a geometrid.  At a wild guess I’d say possibly Hydriomena manzanita.


Possibly Hydriomena manzanita (Lep.: Geometridae)  Nathan Fisk


Gordon Hart writes:   Today in our Highland District yard we had a comma sp. fly-by, and one Sara Orangetip.  At Francis/King Park, I saw a Mourning Cloak (photo attached) and a Cabbage White. Mesoleuca gratulata has been everywhere this week.

Back on March 16, I saw a similar small orange and black moth at the Pike Lake substation (photo also attached).


Mourning Cloak  Nymphalis antiopa  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart

 Epirrhoe plebeculata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Gordon Hart


Aziza Cooper writes:  Today (March 30) one Western Spring Azure was in the southeast woods at Beacon Hill Park. At Mount Tolmie this afternoon there were 2 California Tortoiseshells, 2 Spring Azures, 3 Cabbage Whites and one Sara Orangetip.  The Western Spring Azure photo is the one from Beacon Hill Park. Photo is by Jody Wells.


Western Spring Azure  Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Jody Wells

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

Val George writes:  The sun today, March 30, brought out some butterflies.  At Observatory Hill I saw a Satyr Comma and a Cabbage White.  At Mount Tolmie there were two California Tortoiseshells and two Cabbage Whites.  One fresh-looking tortoiseshell was on the reservoir at the summit;  the other, a rather beat-up one, was on a fir tree (photos attached).


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Val George

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Val George

   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here’s a problem for viewers – how many California Tortoiseshells on Mount Tolmie on Tuesday?  Are the above three photos of three different individuals?  Or just two?  I think three, but I’m not sure!










March 30

2016 March 30


   Aziza Cooper writes:  The monthly butterfly walk is this Sunday, April 3 at 1pm. We will meet at the top of Mount Tolmie and decide on our destination. Since butterflies need sunshine and warm temperatures to fly, this walk will be cancelled if the weather is cold or cloudy.


   For info, email Aziza at or call her cell phone: 250-516-7703.



   Annie Pang writes:  I was so pleased to get a pose of this rather tattered but still beautiful (to me) Mourning Cloak. Taken in Victoria BC, March 29th 2016 at Gorge Pk.  I have also seen a Mesoleuca gratulata but it would not land.  Same for a Western Spring Azure –  frustrating!


Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Annie Pang


   Rosemary Jorna sends a nice picture of an apparently well-marked moth from Peden Bluff, March 24, but so far it has escaped all efforts at identification.  If anyone has any clues, please let us know!

 Unidentified moth (Lep.: Pyralidae)   Rosemary Jorna


 Jeremy Tatum reports a Western Spring Azure,  a Sara Orangetip, and a California Tortoiseshell  from Mount Tolmie, at about 1:00 p.m. this afternoon, March 30.  The tortoiseshell was sunning itself on the reservoir, as is the custom of nymphalids on Mount Tolmie.  It looked as though it was waiting for someone to take a photograph if it.

March 29

2016 March 29

   Gerry and Wendy Ansell write:

   This afternoon (March 29) at 12:30 a.m. there was a Grey Hairstreak at the top of Mount Tolmie.  We saw one Cabbage White on our way there.  Yesterday (March 28) we found our first Mourning Cloak of the year at Swan Lake.


March 28

2016 March 28


   Jeff Gaskin reports his first Cabbage Whites of the year today, one at Jutland Road and one on Wascana Street, Victoria.  And Mike Yip reports his first butterfly of the year, a Mourning Cloak at Cross Road, Nanoose Bay.


Mourning Cloak  Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Mike Yip



    Scott Gilmore wrote from Upper Lantzville, on March 26:  In trying to re-find the garlic snail so I could smell it I turned up a different species of land snail in my backyard, Cochilicopa lubrica.  At just under 5mm long it is not very big. 


Glossy Pillar  Cochilicopa lubrica (Pul.: Cionellidae)  Scott Gilmore

Glossy Pillar  Cochilicopa lubrica (Pul.: Cionellidae)  Scott Gilmore



   Jeremy Gatten writes, on March 26:  I have sent in a photograph of this longhorn beetle before, but I got much better shots of one today.  It was found at Hans Helgesen Elementary School in Metchosin (same as the only other one I have seen).  The moth diversity is not too shabby right now, with probably over 20 species on the wing at present.  The latest for me are Egira crucialis (yesterday at my place in Saanichton), E. perlubens (today at Hans Helgesen) and Anticlea vasiliata at my place this evening.




Plectrura spinicauda (Col.: Cerambycidae)   Jeremy Gatten




   Scott Gilmore wrote from Upper Lantzville, on March 27:   Today I found a Jumping Spider that is new to me. I think it is Platycryptus californicus but I do not claim to know anything about spiders.  [Jeremy Tatum writes:  Thanks to Robb Bennett for confirming Scott’s identification.]


Platycryptus californicus (Ara.: Salticidae)    Scott Gilmore