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.

November 23

2016 November 23


   Ren Ferguson writes from Salt Spring Island:  I was surprised to find a caterpillar on my arm on Monday when doing a lake survey on the Ducks Unlimited property on Salt Spring Island. The caterpillar was almost dead and by the time I photographed it and took it off my arm, it had expired. I have seen this caterpillar species before but my memory fails me.

   I was very interested to see Mike Yip’s photo of the Rock Wren about to enjoy a Noctua pronuba caterpillar. [See November 18 posting.]  I have witnessed both Mountain Bluebirds and American Kestrel eating the same on Mount Tuam in the very early spring. These caterpillars seem to be available at all times of the year. I found many wandering around on the snow one December here on SSI many years ago.


  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I’m afraid I don’t know what this caterpillar is.  A wild guess as to its Family would be Erebidae.  It is not full grown, and one can see from the appearance of its head that it is just about to undergo ecdysis (skin change).  This process often gives a caterpillar a moribund look, so it is possible that it is not as ill as it may appear.


Unknown caterpillar (Lep.: Erebidae?)   Ren Ferguson


November 22

2106 November 22


   One would think that the lepidoptera season was just about over – but not a bit of it.  Here is a group of moth ova that Rosemary Jorna found yesterday, November 21, on Hairy Manzanita on Flower Ridge in the Sooke Hills.  It looks as though two of them have hatched recently – maybe the rest will follow soon.


Moth ova (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Rosemary Jorna

November 18

2016 November 18


   Mike Yip sends a photograph of a caterpillar of a Large Yellow Underwing moth from Neck Point, Nanaimo, November 18.  Just to the left of the caterpillar’s head, viewers may see a small white spot, which I believe may be an aleyrodid bug.  Viewers may also notice a Rock Wren in the photograph.


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae) 

Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus (Pas.: Troglodytidae)

Mike Yip

November 15

2016 November 15


   Jeremy Tatum writes:   The Cabbage White  caterpillar shown on November 12 pupated on November 14.  The chrysalis is shown below.  It is quite a different colour from the one shown on November 9.

 Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Jeremy Tatum

November 14

2016 November 14


   Morgan Davies sends a picture of a beetle that was found during the course of ecological restoration of Ammophila grass on Sidney Island on November 6.  Thanks to Scott Gilmore for the identification.


Northern Carrion Beetle Thanatophilus lapponicus (Col.: Silphidae) Morgan Davies