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.

October 1

2016 October 1


   Monthly Butterfly Walk.  Weather permitting, the last Monthly Butterfly Walk of the year will take place tomorrow, Sunday October 2.  We meet at the top of Mount Tolmie, on the concrete reservoir at 1:00 pm.  All are very welcome.  There is a “special event” taking place in the area that day, so some of the roads near Mount Tolmie and UVic might be closed, so it may be well to allow for delays and aim to get to Mount Tolmie by, say, ten to one.


  There should still be some Cabbage Whites around, and there is always the possibility of something else.  But because we won’t expect hordes of butterflies, it is suggested that we might go to Panama Flats with the aim of finding as many “woolly bear” caterpillars as we can find.  These are furry caterpillars of moths of the subfamily Arctiinae (which means “bears”).  There are several species, though the one we are likely to find quite commonly at Panama Flats is the Banded Woolly Bear.  We should find some even if it is cool and cloudy and there are no butterflies – but if it is actually raining, we may elect to curl up at home with a good book instead.


  In the meantime, here is a moth that turned up at my Saanich apartment this morning:


Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Annie Pang sends more pictures of the tiny mildew-eating Twenty-spotted Ladybird from Gorge Park.


Twenty-spotted Ladybird Psyllobora vigintimaculata (Col.: Coccinellidae)

Annie Pang

 Twenty-spotted Ladybird Psyllobora vigintimaculata (Col.: Coccinellidae)

Annie Pang



   Liam Singh found the chrysalis below at Pedder Bay while he was owl-banding at night.  It is a tiger swallowtail butterfly.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  I haven’t yet learned of any reliable way of distinguishing between the caterpillars or chrysalides of the Western and Pale Tiger Swallowtails.   However, if the tree trunk is that of a willow, it is probably a Western Tiger Swallowtail, whereas if it is alder it is probably a Pale Tiger Swallowtail.

 Tiger swallowtail Papilio sp. (Lep.: Papilionidae)   Liam Singh



September 28

2016 September 28


Jeremy Tatum shows a caterpillar of Lophocampa maculata from Aylard Farm, September 28.  They are usually black at each end and brown in the middle, but this one is slightly different – black at just the head end.


Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)   Jeremy Tatum

   Rosemary Jorna went searching for the tiny snail Vertigo on the bark of maple trees at Kemp Lake today.  She writes:  I found 9,  6 on one tree, 3 on the one next to it . Today’s bright sunshine made them possible to see (these are 3mm or less)  in the rough bark. An hour later when I tried to show them off the light had changed , we could only spot 3.


Threaded Vertigo snail Nearctula sp. (Pul.: Vertiginidae)   Rosemary Jorna

   Rosemary writes:  I saw this Western Conifer Seed Bug at  Kemp Lake Road, September 28 2016 at my feet when I sat down for dinner. There was a slight delay while it got its photo taken and escorted outside.


Western Conifer Seed Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis (Hem.: Coreidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Mike McGrenere writes:  Barb and I were at McIntyre reservoir yesterday and had this Yellow Woolly Bear cross a farm road.


Yellow Woolly Bear Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)
Mike McGrenere

September 26

2016 September 26


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Gordon Hart’s Cerisy’s Eyed Hawk Moth caterpillar (see September 16 posting) has pupated.  The pupa is shown below, next to a quarter.


Cerisy’s Eyed Hawk Moth Smerinthus cerisyi (Lep.: Sphingidae)

   Gordon Hart writes: On Sunday, September 25, at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Lagoon Road, we looked at a patch of Tansy growing along the roadside. Its yellow flowers were covered by dozens of ladybirds at various levels of maturity. I tried to get pictures showing each of the stages of development, but it was difficult. Perhaps one or more of the attached might give some idea of what we saw. Besides the ladybirds, there was a nice green Cuckoo Wasp, and two species of syrphid fly, and probably other creatures.


Harmonia axyridis adult and larva (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Gordon Hart

Middle: Larvae of Harmonia axyridis (Col.: Coccinellidae)

Bottom left: Pupa of Harmonia axyridis (Col.: Coccinellidae)

Right:  Adult Adalia bipunctata (Col.: Coccinellidae)

Gordon Hart

Adults, pupae and one larva of Harmonia axyridis (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Gordon Hart


Aziza Cooper sends a photograph of a Blue-eyed Darner from Swan Lake, September 26.


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


September 25

2106 September 25


Ken Vaughan sends a picture of  Alucita montana.  The larval foodplant of this tiny moth is the flowers of Snowberry.

Alucita montana (Lep.: Alucitidae)  Ken Vaughan

Annie Pang sends a photograph of Araneus diadematus from Gorge Park, September 24.


Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)   Annie Pang


Annie also sends a picture of a Twenty-spotted Ladybird, a ladybird with the unusual habit of feeding upon powdery mildews.


Twenty-spotted Ladybird Psyllobora vigintimaculata (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Annie Pang


Thomas Barbin sends photographs of slugs from Sombrio Beach, September 21.


Pacific Banana Slug Ariolimax columbianus (Pul.: Arionidae)  Thomas Barbin

Pacific Banana Slug Ariolimax columbianus (Pul.: Arionidae)  Thomas Barbin

Yellow-bordered Taildropper Prophysaon foliolatum (Pul.:  Anadenidae)  Thomas Barbin

   Liam Singh sends a picture of a sexton beetle with a large load of mites.  Sexton beetles often (usually) carry large numbers of mites, and apparently both the beetle and the mites gain an advantage from this symbiotic relationship.  You can read (and possibly believe!) an explanation at



 Sexton beetle Nicrophorus sp. (Col.: Silphidae),  with

mites Poecilochirus (Mesostigmata: Parasitidae)

Liam Singh



Jeremy Tatum sends photographs of two caterpillars from Iron Mine Bay, September 25.   The first was on Salmonberry.  The second was on Western Hemlock.



Habrosyne scripta (Lep.: Drepanidae – Thyatirinae)  Jeremy Tatum


Panthea virginarius (Lep.:  Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum


September 23

2016 September 23


   Welcome to the first full day of Fall.  The equinox was at 1:44 PDT yesterday, but today is the first full day.


The mystery of Mike Yip’s swarming insects (see yesterday’s posting) is now solved, at least to Family.  Mike got a close up picture of one, and it is an ant.


Ant (Hym.: Formicidae)  Mike Yip

Aziza Cooper writes: Two Variegated Meadowhawks were in Beacon Hill Park, yesterday, Sept. 22. Also there were three large metallic green dragonflies which wouldn’t perch for a photo. I saw just one Cabbage White butterfly in two hours.


Variegated Meadowhawk  Sympetrum corruptum  (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Aziza Cooper


Jody Wells comments that when an insect lands on his arm, it might want to be photographed.   Here is a caddisfly on Jody’s arm.


Caddisfly (Trichoptera)  Jody Wells

The one below one was on Jody’s truck.  Thanks to Jeremy Gatten for pointing out that it is a Western Conifer Seed Bug, and not an assassin bug as originally posted.


Western Conifer Seed Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis (Hem.: Coreidae)
Jody Wells

Val George sends pictures of grasshoppers.  The first from Island View Beach, September 15.  The other two from Uplands Park, September 22.


Carolina Grasshopper, also known as Mourning Cloak Grasshopper

Dissosteira carolina (Orth.: Acrididae)

Val George

Red-winged Grasshopper Arphia pseudonietana (Orth.: Acrididae)   Val George

Pink Grasshopper Trimerotropis fontana (Orth.: Acrididae)  Val George