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.

September 22

2016 September 22


   Jeremy Tatum sends this picture of a wasp at his Saanich apartment, September 22.  Thank you, Sean McCann, for the identification.


Wasp Vespula pensylvanica (Hym.: Vespidae)   Jeremy Tatum


Rosemary Jorna sends photographs of two moths from Kemp Lake Road.  Rosemary writes:  I rescued the first moth in the Kemp Lake Area Sept 21 2016  from a pond  on Kemp Lake Road . It took about 10 minutes to dry  It has finished drying off and took off a couple of minutes later after beating its wings so fast they were a blur. . When I crossed the road to home the second moth was resting on the driveway.


Male Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)   Rosemary Jorna

 Ceranemota fasciata (Lep.: Drepanidae – Thyatirinae)  Rosemary Jorna

   Mike Yip writes:  I was fascinated yesterday as the late afternoon sun revealed an amazing sight I had never seen before. At the top of every tree there were clouds of insects performing their aerial ballets.  Jeremy Tatum asks:  Has anyone any suggestions what they are?  Chironomids?  Mayflies?  Ants?  None of the above?


Suggestions, anyone?      Mike Yip

Suggestions, anyone?      Mike Yip

 Suggestions, anyone?      Mike Yip

 Suggestions, anyone?      Mike Yip


September 21 morning

2016 September 21, morning


Here are some September photographs from Thomas Barbin.


Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)   Thomas Barbin

Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)   Thomas Barbin

Marsh fly (Dip.: Sciomyzidae)   Thomas Barbin

Goldenrod Crab Spider Misumena vatia (Ara.: Thomisidae)  Thomas Barbin

Stink bug Chlorochroa sp. (Hem.: Pentatomidae)  Thomas Barbin

Unidentified fly (Dip.: Anthomyiidae or Muscidae) Thomas Barbin

Ichneumonid (Hym.: Ichneumonidae)  Thomas Barbin

 Spider-hunting wasp (Hym.: Pompilidae)  Thomas Barbin

Stilt bug (Hem.: Berytidae)  Thomas Barbin

Sweat bee (Hym.: Halictidae)  Thomas Barbin

 Sweat bee (Hym.: Halictidae)  Thomas Barbin

Honey Bee Apis mellifera (Hym.: Apidae)  Thomas Barbin

Yellowjacket wasp Vespula sp. (Hym.: Vespidae)   Thomas Barbin

(Sean McCann suggests possibly V. pensylvanica, but can’t be sure.)


September 20

2016 September 20


   Message from Gordon Hart:


Hello Butterfly Counters,

September is rushing by and I did not notice that we have already passed the third Saturday, September 17, the start date for the count running to Sunday, September 25. This is the last count period for the year.


There are still a few butterflies to be seen on warm days, although most seem to be Cabbage Butterflies. It will be interesting to see how many other species may be around.

Please use the form at to submit your results. Submit a separate form for each area you count, so I can take the higher number in case of double counting.


If you’d like a suggestion about what area to count, send me an email. If you want to be removed from this list or if you know of anyone who would like to be added, please email me.


Thanks for submitting your sightings, and happy counting!


The monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month. The next walk is on October 2. It will be the last one for the year. We meet at Mt Tolmie summit at 1:00pm and decide on our destination from there. The walk will be cancelled if the weather is cool or rainy. Please check the VNHS calendar for changes and updates.




Kari Nelson sends a photograph of a caterpillar of Nadata gibbosa. 


Nadata gibbosa (Lep.: Notodontidae)   Kari Nelson

     Here are several photographs taken by Mike Yip on Mount Cokely in August.  Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying the beetle as Lepturobosca chrysocoma.  My little knowledge of Latin and Greek tells me that chrysocoma means golden hairs.  Thanks to Sean McCann for the Hymenoptera identifications.



Lepturobosca chrysocoma (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Mike Yip

 Aphids  (Hem.: Aphididae)  Mike Yip

Ant Formica sp. (Hym.: Formicidae)    Mike Yip

Bumblebee Bombus vosnesenskii (Hym.: Apidae)    Mike Yip

 Bumblebee Bombus (maybe mixtus)  (Hym.: Apidae)       Mike Yip



September 19

2016 September 19


   On the September 13 posting we showed a picture, from Rosemary Jorna, of a snail and a springtail.  We are now happy to say that Jeremy Gatten has identified the snail for us.  Thank you, Jeremy Gatten!  Viewers will have to scroll down to September 13 to see the new label.


   That reminds me.  From time to time we post a picture as “unidentified”.  If any viewer thinks that s/he might be able to identify one of these – or indeed if anyone thinks that we might have misidentified something – please do let us know!  jtatum at


      After a bit more thought, we are going to upgrade Libby Avis’s photographs of a geometrid caterpillar on the September 17 posting from “probably” Rheumaptera hastata to just Rheumaptera hastata.  No longer “probably”!


   Libby sends photographs of two colour varieties of another geometrid caterpillar – Cyclophora dataria from oaks at Nanoose, September 18.



 Cyclophora dataria (Lep.: Geometridae)   Libby Avis


Cyclophora dataria (Lep.: Geometridae)   Libby Avis



   Gordon Hart’s Polyphemus caterpillar (see September 16) has constructed a big, tough cocoon (photograph below) to pupate inside.  His hawk moth caterpillar has buried itself in a few inches of sterilized potting soil.


Polyphemus Moth Antheraea polyphemus (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Jeremy Tatum


    And now for some more grasshoppers.  The first photographed by Rosemary Jorna at Muir Creek. The second photographed by Val George at Uplands Park.  Both on September 15.  Thank you, Claudia Copley, for the identifications.


Clear-winged Grasshopper Camnula pellucida (Orth.: Acrididae)  Rosemary Jorna


Two-striped Grasshopper Melanoplus bivittatus (Orth.: Acrididae)  Val George


   Rosemary Jorna photographed the dragonfly shown below at Skipping Rock Pool (Sooke River) on September 18.  Thanks to Rob Cannings for the identification as a young female Sympetrum costiferum. Rob writes:  It’s probably youngish and the tan-red colour is not unusual in this species, especially females, especially in young ones. You can see the orange/yellow along the leading edge of the wing, which is usual in this species, especially in young specimens. It’s rather faint here. The pterostigmas are useful for identifying some species, including this one — the black borders front and back are characteristic. The dark line on the dorsum of abdominal segments 8 and 9 is also a useful character.


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

Rosemary Jorna

September 17

2016 September 17


   Libby Avis sends photographs of a caterpillar found on alder at Turtle Lake, Alberni Valley, September 9.  This is the Spear Moth, also known as Argent and Sable, Rheumaptera hastata.


 Rheumaptera hastata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Libby Avis

Rheumaptera hastata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Libby Avis