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 9

2016 September 9


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  The small moth shown below, Udea profundalis, appeared on the wall of my Saanich apartment this morning.  Larval foodplant: Stinging Nettle.  It may not look much like Aziza’s unidentified crambid shown on September 5, but in recent years the taxonomists have expanded the Crambidae to include many moths (such as Udea) that were formerly in Pyralidae.


Udea profundalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  On September  8, I may have seen the last of the Woodland Skippers in the Gorge community.  There was just one on the lavender in the Gorge Park community garden where before I was seeing up to a dozen.


  Devon Parker found the tiger swallowtail caterpillar shown below from Mount Sicker today.  Jeremy Tatum comments:  I haven’t yet found any reliable way of distinguishing between the caterpillars of our two local tiger swallowtails other than foodplant.  Since this one was on alder it is almost certainly a Pale Tiger Swalllowtail.  I am a little concerned  about the numerous tiny black spots on it.  I think this is a virus and it may be fatal. I shall give it some TLC and see what happens.



Probably Pale Tiger Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon (Lep.: Papilionidae)

Devon Parker




   Devon says he also saw a skipper on Mount Sicker today, and, a few days ago he saw a comma at Parry Bay.  While our default skippers and commas are Woodland Skipper and Satyr Comma, you never know, and, in these less-visited places, one can’t assume anything!   Devon and his Dad and I saw a Red Admiral still on the Mount Tolmie reservoir at 4:30 this afternoon.



September 8

2016 September 8


   Aziza Cooper sends photographs of a moth and a snail, both photographed on September 7.  The moth was on the wall of the Bob Wright Building at UVic.  It is the July Highflyer, an exceedingly variable Holarctic species.  So great is the range of variation in the July Highflyer that it took some time to recognize this one for what it is. The snail was at Fort Rodd. It is the Pacific Sideband Snail, also known as the Faithful Snail.


July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Aziza Cooper


Pacific Sideband Monadelia fidelis (Pul.: Bradybaenidae)  Aziza Cooper



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  There are still lots of Cabbage Whites around.  Also, I have noted, in several places, nests or tents of the Fall Webworm.  These are not at all related to the “tent caterpillars” that we get in the spring.  Here is a photograph of a Fall Webworm caterpillar in its penultimate instar from an alder at Maber Flats today.  Being a species of woolly bear, it was very active, and I just got a not-very-good photo indoors.


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



September 6

2016 September 06


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Jannaca Chick sends a photograph of a Catocala from Pedder Bay, September 5.   Our commonest Catocala here is C. aholibah,  though I can’t be completely certain that this isn’t the rather similar C. allusa, which also occurs here.  The caterpillars are distinct, with aholibah feeding on oak, and allusa  on willow.  I’ll be cautious, and label it Catocala aholibah/allusa.


Catocala aholibah/allusa  (Lep.: Erebidae – Catocalinae)  Jannaca Chick



   Annie Pang sends photographs of two bees, with identifications by Linc Best.  The first, photographed on August 17, is Megachile fidelis. The second, from Gorge Park, September 1, is a species of Melissodes.


Megachile fidelis (Hym.:  Megachilidae)   Annie Pang

Melissodes sp. (Hym.:  Apidae)   Annie Pang


Melissodes sp. (Hym.:  Apidae)   Annie Pang



September 5

2016 September 05


    About seven people attended the monthly Butterfly Walk yesterday.  We went out to Island View Beach.  We saw several Woodland Skippers and Large Heaths (“Ringlets”) nectaring on Douglas Asters in the grassy fields inland from the beach, and a female Purplish Copper on the sand dunes apparently ovipositing on the Beach Knotweed Polygonum paronychia.  And, of course, a few inevitable Cabbage Whites.  Finally, a Red Admiral awaited us on our return to Mount Tolmie, for a total of five species – not bad for September.   There were lots of tiny micro moths on the sand dunes, one of which was photographed by Aziza Cooper. Not sure what they are – other than a species of crambid moth.  Some of the more undisciplined members of the party, (that is to say, all of us) saw a few birds – Common Nighthawk, Wilson’s Snipe, Cedar Waxwing, Merlin, Mourning Dove, and lots of American Pipits.  Jeremy Tatum


   Here are a few of Aziza’s photographs from the trip.


Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper


Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper


Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Aziza Cooper



Large Heath (“Ringlet”) Coenonympha tullia (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)

 Aziza Cooper


Micro moth (Lep.: Crambidae)  Aziza Cooper




  Meanwhile Annie Pang photographed a potter wasp (to quote Vera Lynn – “don’t know where, don’t know when”!), identified by Matthias Buck.


Male Ancistrocerus (probably albophaleratus) (Hym.: Vespidae – Eumeninae)

 Annie Pang


    Jeremy Tatum writes:  I have been asked what were the 26 species of butterfly that I saw in a small area of Sussex, England, in two days in August!  Well, that doesn’t strictly belong in this Vancouver Island site, but, to satisfy the curious, here they are:


Small Skipper                           Small Copper                           Peacock

Essex Skipper                           Small Blue                                Comma

Silver-spotted Skipper            Brown Argus                            Dark Green Fritillary

Large Skipper                           Common Blue                          Speckled Wood

Clouded Yellow                        Chalkhill Blue                           Wall Brown

Brimstone                                 Holly Blue                                Gatekeeper

Large White                              Red Admiral                             Meadow Brown

Small White                              Painted Lady                            Small Heath

Green-veined White                Small Tortoiseshell