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.

July 30

2016 July 30


   Val George writes:  Yesterday afternoon, July 29, I saw at least a dozen “Ringlets” (also called Large Heath) Coenonympha tullia at Island View Beach.


Coenonympha tullia (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)  Val George

   Marie O’Shaughnessy sends a photograph of a Western Pondhawk from MacIntyre reservoir July 25.  We were initially unsure whether this was a Western Pondhawk or the somewhat similar Blue Dasher, and we are grateful to Rob Cannings for identifying it for us.  Rob makes the interesting observation that the Western Pondhawk often perches on the ground, while the Blue Dasher rarely does.  That will be something for dragonfly watchers to look out for!


Male Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae) Marie O’Shaughnessy


Jeremy Tatum writes:  I saw a Western Tiger Swallowtail today at Cresswell Road (near the Airport).  Also there was a sesiid (clearwing moth).  I didn’t manage to identify it, but sesiids are always exciting – I certainly don’t get to see one every year.  At 6:45 pm this evening, the usual nymphalids were hill-topping on Mount Tolmie.  Three Red Admirals:  two on the reservoir (one on the paint blotches – it usually chooses the blue blotch), and one on the bramble patch.  And one Painted Lady, as usual on the roadside beneath the Jeffery Pine.



Gerry, Wendy and Steve Ansell write:  We went searching for the Western Branded Skippers on the Indian Reserve on Cordova Spit.  Steve managed to photograph two males and there may have been more.  They were near the dirt parking lots on the spit.


Western Branded Skipper Hesperia colorado (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Steve Ansell

[Jeremy comments – That looks like a Honey Bee coming in for the attack!]


Western Branded Skipper Hesperia colorado (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Steve Ansell

 Western Branded Skipper Hesperia colorado (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Steve Ansell


July 29

2016 July 29


   Jeremy Tatum writes: Yesterday I posted several of Jody Wells’s recent photographs of dragonflies, and I tried – with limited success – to guess at the identifications.  Rob Cannings to the rescue!   Rob is away at a scientific meeting, but he took the time to identify the dragonflies for us.   Thank you, Rob.  Viewers can now view the July 28 Invert Alert and see the correct identifications.


  Marie O’Shaughnessy sends a picture of a Woodland Skipper from Observatory Hill, July 25.


Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides (Lep.: Hesperiidae) 

Marie O’Shaughnessy



   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today, July 29, I found a Western Tiger Swallowtail in Beacon Hill Park amongst some flowers by the sun dial near Deer Lake.

July 28

2016 July 28


   Annie Pang sends photographs of two bees.  Thanks to Sean McCann and Linc Best for identifications.



Megachile sp. (Hym.: Megachilidae)   Annie Pang

 Halictus rubicundus (Hym.: Halictidae)   Annie Pang

   Jody Wells sends a series of splendid dragonfly photographs from Martindale Flats, near the McIntyre reservoir, July 20 – 24. Sincere thanks to Rob Cannings for the identifications.


Variegated Meadowhawk Sympetrum corruptum (Odo.: Libellulidae)

Jody Wells

Blue-eyed Darner Rhionaeschna multicolor (Odo.: Aeshnidae)  Jody Wells

 Blue-eyed Darner Rhionaeschna multicolor (Odo.: Aeshnidae) Jody Wells

Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

Saffron-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum costiferum  (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

W estern Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

 Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata(Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

   Jeremy Tatum reports a Red Admiral from Whiffin Spit today (July 28).  Also two Red Admirals at the top of Mount Tolmie at 6:00 p.m.   As on July 25, one of the Red Admirals was on the paint blotch on the reservoir, and the other  was on the bramble patch.





July 27

2016 July 27


   Annie Pang sends a photo of another robber fly – this time a much larger one, kindly identified by Rob Cannings as Laphria ferox.


Robber fly Laphria ferox (Dip.: Asilidae)  Annie Pang


   Annie sends photographs of two bees.  Sincere thanks to Sean McCann for the identifications.

 Megachile (probably melanophaea) (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang


Wool Carder Bee Anthidium manicatum (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang

July 26

2016 July 26


   Request from Jeremy Tatum.  We are receiving photographs of a wonderful variety of insects and other invertebrates.  Often the photographer doesn’t know the species, and it is then great fun for us to track it down, and we enjoy doing that.  However, sometimes you do know the species.  If you do already know the species that you have photographed, please indicate what the species is – otherwise I have to spend time trying to identify it myself!  Thanks!


Gordon Hart writes:  The July count was down in numbers from June, but there were still 13 species compared with 11 last year. We had more Cabbage Whites and Pine Whites than 2015, but far fewer Woodland Skippers. Jeff Gaskin says that Lynda Dowling had already harvested her lavender, which last year accounted for over 1000 skippers. I had recorded only one Grey Hairstreak (in our yard), until I saw Nathan Fisk’s photo on the Invertalert from Fort Rodd Hill within the count period. I saw two others just prior to the count in the Pike Lake area, but I could not find them again. There were no West Coast Ladies seen on this year’s count.


Here is the July summary:


Anise Swallowtail           3

Cabbage White                      417

Essex Skipper                          11

Grey Hairstreak                        2

Lorquin’s Admiral                    50

Mourning Cloak                         2

Painted Lady                              6

Pale Tiger Swallowtail               3

Pine White                               52

Red Admiral                               6

Satyr Comma                             1

Western Tiger Swallotail        46

Woodland Skipper                  43



   Annie Pang sends a photograph of a Honey Bee Apis mellifera.




Honey Bee Apis mellifera  (Hym.: Apidae)  Annie Pang

Annie also sends a photograph of a robber fly.  Thanks to Rob Cannings for the identification as Eudioctria sackeni.



Eudioctria sackeni (Dip.: Asilidae)  Annie Pang

Marie O’Shaughnessy writes:  Here’s one of a few Pine Whites we saw Sunday July 24th 2016. This individual was seen at Trevlac Place at 2.20pm.



Male Pine White Neophasia menapia (Lep.: Pieridae)   Marie O’Shaghnessy




   Jeremy Tatum went to Cordova Spit today (July 26) looking for Western Branded Skippers, but he saw none.  Previous records suggest that we have to wait until August.  David Robichaud photographed one there last year on August 3.  Records there from previous years are August 6 and August 19.   Jeremy continues:  I had a consolation prize when I got back to the Island View Beach parking lot, where I saw an Anise Swallowtail.  Island View Beach is a possible locality for this species. The caterpillars there feed on Lomatium nudicaule and (don’t tell the botanists!) on Glehnia littoralis, both of which grow on the dunes.  Yesterday I spotted, through binoculars and just out of reach of my grasping hands, a very young caterpillar of a Western Tiger Swallowtail on a cottonwood (Populus sp.) at McIntyre Reservoir, Central Saanich.


Gordon Hart writes:  6 Woodland Skippers, a Grey Hairstreak and a Cabbage White in my Highlands yard today.