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.

2021 July 15 morning

2021 July 15 morning


   Aziza Cooper sends photographs of a Satyr Comma butterfly and a larva of a Giant Birch Sawfly from Sidney Island, July 14.


Male Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper


Male Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper



Giant Birch Sawfly Trichiosoma triangulum (Hym.: Cimbicidae)  Aziza Cooper

2021 July 14

2021 July 14

    Earlier this week Amelie Roias found two caterpillars of Antheraea polyphemus and one of Smerinthus ophthalmica at Panama Flats.  She also saw a Painted Lady ovipositing on thistle – but unfortunately Saanich cut down the thistles the following day.


Aziza Cooper writes:  Yesterday  , July 13, at Swan Lake one green moth, Nemoria unitaria, was above the entrance to the Nature House. A Mourning Cloak was perched on a branch above the floating boardwalk at the eastern end.  Two Western Tiger Swallowtails, and some Lorquin’s Admirals and Cabbage Whites were also at Swan Lake.

Corrigendum:  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I had originally misidentified and mislabelled this moth as Nemoria darwiniata.  Thanks to Libby Avis (and my apologies to Aziza) for pointing out that it is actually Nemoria unitaria.

Nemoria unitaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Aziza Cooper

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

2021 July 13

2021 July 13

    Jochen Möhr’s moths from Metchosin this morning.


Elder Moth  Zotheca tranquilla (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr



Female Malacosoma californicum (Lep.: Lasiocampidae) Jochen Möhr



Maybe Paraseptis adnixa (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Hydriomena californiata/marinata (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr



Gabriola dyari (Lep.:  Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

2021 July 12

2021 July 12


    A Big Thank You.  Following a recent reorganization of the UVic email system, we have had difficult problems getting the Invertebrate Alert daily postings up for the past couple of weeks or so.  A big thankyou to Adam Taylor (VNHS Webmaster) and staff at the UVic Help Centre (Sage, Zoë, and the rest of the team), who put in a lot of hours and effort into keeping Invert Alert going, and eventually solving the problem.  I think we are now back in business.


Jeremy Tatum writes:  There was a Painted Lady on the very summit of Mount Tolmie yesterday evening, July 11.


Here is another photograph of an adult Malacosoma disstria.   ­ It is no more exciting in appearance than yesterday’s, except that this time we can see the bipectinate antennae showing that it is, at last, a male.  This one was only 13 mm from the head to the forewing apex.

Male Malacosoma disstria (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Jochen Möhr’s batch from Metchosin this morning fortuitously includes a male M. californicum.

His batch also includes a Polyphylla beetle.  Andrew Smith writes:  The hair-like setae on the disc of the pronotum clearly indicate that this is Polyphylla crinita.  Nice pic!



Male Malacosoma californicum (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)  Jochen Möhr

Polyphylla crinita (Col.: Scarabaeidae)   Jochen Möhr

Protitame subalbaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Elder Moth Zotheca tranquilla (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


Jeremy Tatum writes.  I visited McIntyre reservoir today (Monday July 12).  The Teasel is at full display now, but, strangely, the only butterflies there were Cabbage Whites (a-plenty).  The Cabbage Whites were more interested in nectaring at Raphanus rather than on the Teasel.  Recall that Ron saw a Red Admiral there yesterday, so butterflies could arrive in force at any time – let us hope before the Teasels are cut down.


There were lots of dragonflies there.  Eight-spotted Skimmers seemed especially numerous, though there were also several Black Saddlebags, which seem to be unusually widespread this year.


Nearby, I found these two caterpillars within inches of each other on adjacent willowherb plants –  two different species of hawk moth:


White-lined Hawk Moth Hyles lineata (Lep.:  Sphingidae) Jeremy Tatum

Bedstraw Hawk Moth Hyles galii (Lep.: Sphingidae)  Jeremy Tatum


Rosemary Jorna writes that there was a small moth on her Bigfeaf Maple at Kemp Lake today.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  It is Clemensia umbrata.  Its caterpillar feeds on lichens.


Clemensia umbrata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Rosemary

2021 July 11

2021 July 11


   Corrigendum:   Jeremy Tatum writes:  On June 16 afternoon we posted a remarkable picture by Gordon Hart of a fly in flight, which I had misidentified as a probable Eristalis (Syrphidae).   We are grateful  to Claudia Copley for pointing out that it is actually Hybomitra (Tabanidae).  See the entry for June 16 afternoon for further details.


Jeremy continues:  For some time I have been trying to photograph both sexes of our two Malacosoma species, but a male M. disstria has so far eluded me.   I thought I had maybe photographed one this morning, but on second look, while I think it is disstria, I am not sure of its sex.  In any case it is one of the most undistinguished moths I have come across.


Malacosoma disstria (Lep.: Lasiocampidae)  Jeremy Tatum


This tiny caterpillar, from a willow near Blenkinsop Lake and photographed against a miilimetre scale, also cannot at present claim any particularly distinguished appearance.  But next Spring it will be very distinguished indeed – it will be a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.


Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus/eurymedon (Lep.; Papilionidae)


Val  George sends a photograph of a June Beetle from Langford on July 9.  This beetle has recently been split into two species – Polyphylla decemlineata  and P. crinita – and we are still struggling on this site to distinguish between the two, so we’ll leave it for the time being as an either/or.   Whichever one it is, it inspired Val’s five-year-old grandson to aver that he is going to be an entomologist when he grows up.


Polyphylla decemlineata/crinita (Col.: Scarabaeidae)

Val George


   Jeremy Tatum writes that there was a Painted Lady on the Mount Tolmie reservoir yesterday evening, July 10.


   Ron Flower writes:  On Sunday the 11th of July, we went to McIntyre Reservoir where the Teasel is in flower.  We saw four Western Tiger Swallowtails, one Red Admiral and lots of Cabbage Whites.  So things are starting to look good there.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yes, but are they going to cut the Teasels down, as they have done in the last two years?   Maybe someone might ask the Michells about this.


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papillionidae)  Ron Flower


Jöchen Möhr sends a photograph of one of at least a dozen Essex Skippers from Metchosin, July 11.


Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola (Lep.: Hesperiidae)   Jochen Möhr