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 25

2016 March 25


   Libby Avis sends photographs of a moth and two beetles from Alberni.   The moth is Semioscopis sp.  Libby says there are three possible species, and that they require dissection to be sure of the species.  Jeremy Tatum notes that taxonomy of all organisms seems to change at a bewildering rate, and that this and similar moths, including the familiar Depressaria pastinacella and Agonopterix alstroemeriana, were formerly included in the Family Oecophoridae, but the group has now been given a new Family name, Depressariidae.


Semioscopus sp. (Lep.:  Depressariidae)   Libby Avis

Libby writes that the next image is Rathvon’s Ladybeetle, found on March 20 at the McLean Hill.  She writes: It’s pretty big for a ladybird – this one was 12 mm. [Jeremy comments:  Have a look at a ruler – you’ll agree that that’s large!]  Libby continues: It’s been reported from elsewhere on the island, but it’s the first time we’ve seen it in the Alberni valley.


Anatis rathvoni (Col.:  Coccinellidae)     Libby Avis

Libby’s third photograph is  Thanatophilus lapponicus, the Northern Carrion Beetle, found at Rathtrevor Provincial Park on March 18th. She was able to identify this one thanks to Scott Gilmore’s photo on Bug Guide.


Thanatophilus lapponicus  (Col.:  Silphidae)     Libby Avis


There have been few reports of butterflies, though Virginia Miller reported to Aziza Cooper that she had seen an anglewing (comma) in Goward Park, Cadboro Bay on March 16.   Annie Pang saw two Cabbage Whites in Gorge Park Community Gardens on March 23. She closely watched and photographed the interesting behaviour of one of them, a female, which perched with raised abdomen.  She writes:  I am assuming that she has already laid her eggs and is trying to discourage further mating or is about to lay eggs.  In this correct?  Cris Guppy responds:  The female was indeed trying to discourage males from mating with her. She raised her abdomen to release pheromones that ‘turn off’ the male’s interest in mating. I once had a laboratory colony of Cabbage Whites, and found that I if I had many females in a cage with males there would be a very low rate of mating. The first couple of females that mated would turn off all the rest of the males in the cage, and the rest of the females would not get mated with. All the Pieris and Pontia species do this (probably orangetips and marbles as well, but I am not sure).


Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)   Annie Pang

Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)   Annie Pang


Jeremy Tatum writes that he has either been confined to the classroom (with some excellent students) or to bed (with a miserable cold), and hasn’t seen many invertebrates recently, though a bunch of organic Brussels sprouts from the grocery store produced a nice crop of Diamondback Moths.  The first photograph is of one with unusual markings and colour, which had me guessing at first, but Eric LaGasa and I agree that it is probably a Diamondback Moth.  The other two photographs show dorsal and lateral views of more typical individuals.  The little blob of liquid near the third one is meconium from a newly-ecloded individual.


  Plutella xylostella (Lep.: Plutellidae)     Jeremy Tatum

 Plutella xylostella (Lep.: Plutellidae)     Jeremy Tatum


Plutella xylostella (Lep.: Plutellidae)     Jeremy Tatum


March 21

2016 March 21


   Jeremy Tatum sends a photograph of a rough stink bug Brochymena sp. from his Saanich apartment.


Brochymena sp.: (Hem.: Pentatomidae)   Jeremy Tatum



   Scott Gilmore writes, from Upper Lantzville:  At the beach on Saturday (March 19) there were flies everywhere on the rocks at low tide. I decided to investigate. With the help of John Carr they were identified as being from the genus Oedoparena from the family Dryomyzidae. Turns out the larval stage of these flies eat barnacles which explains the location. There are three species world wide with two of them in North America, one of which is known from Canada. That along with a few features led me to conclude that it fits with the descriptions of Oedoparena glauca. There are not too many marine insects!   If you want to know more (or even too much) about this crazy group this is a pretty good article


 Oedoparena glauca  (Dip.: Dryomyzidae)   Scott Gilmore

Oedoparena glauca  (Dip.: Dryomyzidae)   Scott Gilmore


March 19

2016 March 19


   Jeremy Tatum sends photographs of two insects from his Saanich apartment this morning.


Anthrenus verbasci (Col.: Dermestidae)    Jeremy Tatum

Egira curialis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


  Val George reports his first butterfly of the year – a Mourning Cloak on Mount Douglas, yesterday, March 18.


  Rosemary Jorna sends a photograph of a spider from her garden in Kemp Lake Road, March 17.  Thanks to Robb Bennett for identifying it for us.  He writes:  A classic Pardosa wolf spider – high head and relatively long and spindly legs. Usually difficult to identify from photographs, but I think the image is of Pardosa vancouveri    it is the most common dark Pardosa around here at this time of year. Other genera of wolf spiders in our area are usually more heavy-bodied and with thicker head and lower heads.


Pardosa vancouveri (Ara.: Lycosidae)    Rosemary Jorna

March 16

2016 March 16

Gerry and Wendy Ansell write:  We finally got our first butterfly of the year – a Sara Orangetip on Christmas Hill this afternoon.



March 15

2016 March 15

Scott Gilmore sends pictures of a Garlic Glass Snail from his garden in Lantzville.  This snail is noted for its strong smell of garlic. (The scientific name alliarius means garlic.)  If you have installed the latest in computer technology and place your face near to the image on the screen, you may be able to detect the odour.  He also sends a picture of an American Lappet Moth, being the adult of the very caterpillar that was shown on this site on 2015 August 15.  Near the bottom of the picture you can see a small oval object.  It is indeed “oval” – that is, it is an egg laid by the moth.


Oxychilus alliarius (Pul.: Daubebariidae)  Scott Gilmore

Oxychilus alliarius (Pul.: Daubebariidae)  Scott Gilmore


American Lappet Moth Phyllodesma americana (Lep.:  Lasiocampidae)  Scott Gilmore