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 16

2016 September 16


   Gordon Hart came across two demonstration-size caterpillars within a few minutes and a few feet of each other at his Highlands garden today.

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


Polyphemus Moth Antheraea polyphemus (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Gordon Hart


   There are still lots of Cabbage Whites around, and Jeremy Tatum watched one ovipositing on Cakile at Weir’s Beach today.  There’s a photograph of one of the eggs below.


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


   The Pale Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar that Devon Parker found on Mount Sicker (see September 9 posting) pupated today.  Photograph below.

Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Jeremy Tatum


  Jeff Gaskin writes:  Kirsten Mills, tells me that on Tuesday September 13 she and Marie O’Shaughnessy saw a Pine White in East Sooke Park by Aylard Farm.


September 14 morning

2016 September 14 morning


   Now is the season for woolly bear caterpillars.   Two different sorts appeared on the September 11 posting.  Ron Flower sends pictures of a third species, from Panama Flats, September 12.  These are colour varieties of the Yellow Woolly Bear Spilosoma virginica.  Keep a look-out for the Banded Woolly Bear.  October is their peak season, but a few will probably be spotted in September. Panama Flats is a good location to find them.


Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Ron Flower


Spilosoma virginica (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Ron Flower



   Ron also photographed a male Purplish Copper on Grindelia at the sand parking lot by the pump house on Island View Beach, September 12.


Purplish Copper  Lycaena helloides (Lep.:  Lycaenidae)   Ron Flower


   Jeff Gaskin tells us that yesterday, September 13, he and the Tuesday Group saw a Red Admiral in flight over the Lochside trail between Dooley and Sayward Roads.


   Rosemary Jorna sends some photographs of grasshoppers from Broom Hill.  Thanks to James Miskelly for the identifications.


Camnula pellucida (Orth.: Acrididae)  Rosemary Jorna


 Trimerotropis fontana (Orth.: Acrididae)  Rosemary Jorna



Trimerotropis fontana (Orth.: Acrididae)  Rosemary Jorna


September 13

2016 September 13


   Tonight:  At Fraser  159, UVic,  7:30 pm.  Catherine Scott will talk about her observations on Latrodectus hesperus  (Ara.: Theridiidae) at Island View Beach.  This will be of great interest to all viewers of this site.


   Rosemary Jorna sends an interesting photograph from Broom Hill.  Thanks to Jeremy Gatten for identifying the snail for us.   The tiny invertebrate next to it is of interest.  Thanks to Rob Cannings who identified it as a springtail of the Family (recognized by the globular shape) Sminthuridae.  Whether springtails regularly feed on snail slime or whether the springtail randomly encountered the snail in passing will need to be resolved by further observations, although Rosemary writes that it kept going back to make contact with the snail. Rob writes: Springtails eat many things, from fungal hyphae and spores to bacteria and components of decomposing plant and animal material of all sorts. I bet they could get lots of nutritious things from snail slime.


Northwest Hesperian Snail Vespericola columbianus (Pul.: Polygyridae)
and springtail (Collembola)   Rosemary Jorna

Jeremy Tatum comments.  At one time, springtails were insects – but the taxonomists have been busy since then.  We now have an Arthropod Subphylum called Hexapoda, which includes two Classes,  Insecta and Entognatha.  Springtails (Order Collembola) are now Entognatha, no longer Insecta.  Another animal that many of us are familiar with (but we wish we weren’t), which was an insect but is now an entognath, is the Firebrat (Order Thysanura, Family Lepismatidae)  that shares our homes with us. At least I think that’s what it was last year.  Who knows what the next revision will bring?


September 11

2016 September 12


   Gordon Hart sends the results of the August Butterfly Count, as follows:  (August 2015 numbers in parentheses)


Anise Swallowtail                               1          (0)

Cabbage White                              302      (259)

Cedar Hairstreak                               0          (1)

“Ringlet”                                           32        (19)

Grey Hairstreak                                 0          (4)

Lorquin’s Admiral                              4          (5)

Mourning Cloak                                 0          (2)

Painted Lady                                       5          (6)

Pale Tiger Swallowtail                       0          (3)

Pine White                                          6          (2)

Purplish Copper                                  0          (2)

Red Admiral                                        0          (3)

West Coast Lady                                 0          (1)

Sulphur sp.                                          1          (0)

Western Tiger Swallowtail                1          (3)

Woodland Skipper                         357      (595)


Total                                                 709      (905)

Observers                                         12        (17)

Reports                                             29        (40)

Locations covered                            27



   Jeff Gaskin saw a  skipper (presumably woodland) today on Cecilia Avenue.


   More reports of interesting invertebrates received today – but they’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s posting!  Jeremy Tatum

September 11

2016 September 11


   There are still Cabbage Whites around.  Aziza Cooper sends a photograph of one from Panama Flats, September 10.  The boldness of the black spots indicates that it is a late summer female.


Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Aziza Cooper


   Aziza also saw two Pine Whites in East Sooke Park on September 9.



   Jeremy Tatum sends pictures of two woolly bears.  The first is a Fall Webworm – a later instar than the one shown on September 8.  The second is an unusually pale variety of Lophocampa maculata in its third instar, from Poirier Lake, September 10.


Fall Webworm Hyphantria cunea (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Jeremy Tatum


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

   Aziza Cooper photographed a slug and a dragonfly at East Sooke Park, September 9.  Thank you, Rob Cannings, for confirming the dragonfly identification.


Reticulate Taildropper Prophysaon andersonii (Pul.: Anadeniidae) Aziza Cooper


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