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 10

2016 July 10


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  This one flew into my bedroom last night:


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jeremy adds:  I saw a Western Spring Azure at Roberts Bay, Sidney, today.  This is a very late date to see one, although I have very occasionally seen them in July in previous years.


   Liam Singh sends a picture of a Black Saddlebags from Haliburton Farms, Victoria, today.  This is a first for Invert Alert.


Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Liam Singh



   Annie Pang sends a picture of a leafcutter bee from Gorge Park, July 10.


Leafcutter bee Megachile sp. (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang





July 9 morning

2016 July 9 morning


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a Herald Moth, from Lochside Drive north of Blenkinsop Lake. July 9.  The Herald Moth is a long-lived moth, spending the winter in the adult state.  It is one of the first moths to be seen in early spring – it heralds in the spring, hence the name. Larval foodplant willow.

 Herald Moth Scoliopteryx libatrix (Lep.: Erebidae – Scoliopteryginae) Jeremy Tatum


   Thomas Barbin sends close-up photos of two “micro” moths and a bee from his Highland yard, July 8.


Emmelina monodactyla (Lep.: Pterophoridae)  Thomas Barbin


Glyphipterix bifasciata (Lep.: Glyphipterigidae) Thomas Barbin


Bee face    Thomas Barbin

July 8

2016 July 8


   Liam Singh sends two photographs from Victoria of a damselfly, kindly identified for us by Rob Cannings as a young female Tule Bluet.


Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae)

Liam Singh


Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Odo.: Coenagrionidae) 
Liam Singh



   Annie Pang sends a photograph of a bee, identified by Linc Best, and of a dragonfly, identified by Rob Cannings.


Melissodes microsticta (Hym.:  Apidae)  Annie Pang


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

Annie Pang

July 7

2016 July 7


    Aziza Cooper writes:  Tuesday, July 5, the VNHS Tuesday birding group went to Panama Flats. We saw one Lorquin’s Admiral, one Western Tiger Swallowtail, 5 or 6 European (Essex) Skippers and numerous Cabbage Whites. A very spiky brown caterpillar was on the trail, a black and yellow bee on thistles and some interesting bugs on Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot).


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Thanks to Linc Best for identifying the bee.

Bombus vosnesenskii (Hym.: Apidae)  Aziza Cooper

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Aziza Cooper


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Well, neither of the insects on the Daucus carota is a bug.  The one on the left is an ichneumonid, and the one on the right is a cantharid beetle.   Beyond that I cannot go – but we would welcome suggestions.


Ichneumonid (Hym.: Ichneumonidae), and soldier beetle (Col.: Cantharidae) Aziza Cooper


Jeremy Tatum writes:  I knew what the “very spiky brown caterpillar” was going to be before I saw the photograph!   Don’t handle these caterpillars – they can give you a nasty rash!  The caterpillars feed on various shrubs of the Families Rosaceae and Caprifoliaceae.


Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae) Aziza Cooper





The June 29 Invert Alert reported Red Admirals from several localities, but I somehow managed to miss one reported on that date from Nanoose Bay, by Mike Yip. Here it is, a little late – my apologies!  Jeremy


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip

Mike also sends a picture of a very pretty “micro” – Pyrausta perrubralisfrom Nanoose Bay today.


Pyrausta perrubralis (Lep.:  Crambidae)  Mike Yip



   Libby Avis sends a photo of a male velvet ant  Dasymutilla sp. from Rathtrevor Provincial Park, July 5th 2016.  These insects are more closely related to wasps than to ants, and the wingless females have a reputation of having an exceedingly painful sting.  This is the first velvet ant that we have had on this site.


Velvet Ant Dasymutilla sp. (Hym.: Mutillidae)  Libby Avis




Rosemary Jorna photographed a sand wasp at Witty’s Lagoon today, July 7.


Sand wasp Bembix americana (Hym.: Crabronidae)  Rosemary Jorna


July 6

2016 July 6


   Annie Pang has drawn my attention to the following notice:


Jeremy Tatum writes:  I have often wished that we had someone who could identify pictures of Hymenoptera that are submitted to Invert Alert, so I hope that someone might be moved to attend this course!


Jeff Gaskin writes:   Today, July 6, I saw my first of the year Pine White in Cuthbert Holmes Park in a Douglas Fir tree.  Last year on July 6th I saw my first Pine White and that time it was along Sooke Road. in Colwood.


Jeremy Tatum comments:  Last year, 2015, the first Pine White was reported to Invert Alert on July 1, on Observatory Hill


Rosemary Jorna writes:   I saw this insect in a garden on Kemp Lake Rd this afternoon July 6 2016.  Jeremy Tatum comments: I got this wrong in the original version of this posting, misidentifying it as an ichneumonid looking for a beetle grub.  My appeal for further help with the identification was answered by Libby Avis, who tells us that it is a horntail, Urocerus albicornis.  It is not looking for a beetle grub at all.  Rather, it is laying its egg in the wood, and its larva subsists upon the wood.  Horntails are in the suborder “Symphyta” of the Hymenoptera, a suborder that also includes the sawflies.   Thank you, Libby!


Horntail Urocerus albicornis (Hym.:  Siricidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Horntail Urocerus albicornis (Hym.:  Siricidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Rosemary writes: There were four Western Tiger Swallowtails enjoying the sunshine. This one was flying well not at all hampered by the damage to its wings.  Kemp Lake Road, July 6.


Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Rosemary continues: This Ladybird beetle was in a garden on the other side of Kemp Lake Road.


Harmonia axyridis (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Annie Pang writes: I got this picture at Gorge Park, Victoria, July 6, 2016 on Dogwood leaves.  It was tiny so I was glad to get as close as I did.


Rob Cannings writes: This is a robber fly — Laphria ventralis (male). In Canada restricted to the southern Strait of Georgia region of coastal British Columbia. Normally, they are not what I’d call “tiny” (about 15 or so mm long) [Jeremy Tatum interjects:  the few I have seen have been enormous!], but there can be considerable variation in size among specimens of a single species of asilid.


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