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.

August 5

2016 August 5


   Val George writes:   Yesterday morning, August 4, I had a Grey Hairstreak in my garden in Oak Bay.


Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yesterday evening there were two Red Admirals flying around the top of Mount Tolmie, and today I saw a Western Tiger Swallowtail and a Common Green Darner in Uplands Park.


Is anyone seeing any Pine Whites?   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I may have briefly seen about two this year, but that is all.  Let us know if you are seeing any of this usually common July/August species.


Cheryl Hoyle sends a photograph of a grasshopper taken in Metchosin, today, August 5.  Claudia Copley writes:  This is hard – it would help to see the lower hind leg colour and the hind wing.  I am certain about the tribe (Trimerotropini) and am leaning toward Carolina Grasshopper Dissosteira carolina.



Probably Carolina Grasshopper  Dissosteira carolina (Orth.: Acrididae)
   Cheryl Hoyle



August 4

2016 August 4


Monthly Butterfly Walk

All Welcome!


Gordon Hart writes:

The monthly butterfly walk will be this Sunday, August 7.  We will meet at Mount Tolmie at 1 p.m. at the main parking lot below the summit on the north side and decide where to go from there.  The trip is weather-dependent, so if it is too cool and cloudy or rainy, we will probably have to look for birds instead!  I was thinking perhaps Island View Beach and Cordova Spit might be good.  There’s a chance of Purplish Copper, Anise Swallowtail, Large Heath (“Ringlet”) and the rare Western Branded Skipper.



Jeremy Tatum writes:  Not many moths recently, but, in several places I have seen the big silken nests of the Fall Webworm Hyphantria cunea (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae).  Also, if you see a smallish dark reddish-brown moth flying rapidly around in a corkscrew-like fashion, which you first think might be a skipper, though its flight doesn’t look quite right, you are probably seeing a male Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua (Lep.: Erebidae – Lymantriinae)

August 3

2016 August 3



   Jody Wells sends a photograph of Neoalcis californiaria from West Saanich Road near Keating Cross Road, July 31.  Jody writes:  I think it’s a beauty but some butterfliers weren’t impressed by this moth.  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Well, Jody, you and I both appreciate this fine moth, even if no one else does.  A true wonder of Nature.


Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jody Wells


   Julie Michaux sends a photograph of Hemithea aestivaria from Muir Creek, August 2.


Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Julie Michaux


  Annie Pang sends a photograph of an anthomyiid fly from Gorge Park, August 2.


Fly (Dip.: Anthomyiidae)  Annie Pang


   Jody Wells sends two pictures of a female Cardinal Meadowhawk from Martindale Flats.


Female Cardinal Meadowhawk  Sympetrum illotum (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

 Female Cardinal Meadowhawk  Sympetrum illotum (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Jody Wells

August 2

2016 August 2


   Annie Pang sends us two spiders and a moth. 


Cellar spider Pholcus phalangioides (Ara.:  Pholcidae)   Annie Pang


    Jeremy Tatum writes:  This is one of several unrelated creatures called, in different parts of the English-speaking world, “Daddy-long-legs”.  That’s a nice name, so it’s a pity it’s applied to different animals.  Perhaps it’s best to stick to the scientific name.



Male Scotophaeus blackwalli (Ara.: Gnaphosidae)   Annie Pang



The Mouse Amphipyra tragopoginis (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Annie Pang



    Jeremy Tatum writes:  The moth is known as The Mouse partly because of its colour and partly because of the mouse-like way by which it scuttles around on its legs.  The caterpillar feeds on many low-growing herbaceous plants, but is particularly fond of the pappus of Salsify, also known as Oyster Plant, also known as Goatsbeard, genus Tragopogon  (which means goat’s beard).  It is not known for certain whether the moth (which occurs in Europe) is native to North America or whether it was accidentally introduced.


   And now for the horror photograph from Saturna Island that we mentioned yesterday.  Thanks to Rob Cannings for the robber fly identification, and to Sean McCann for the wasp identification.


Robber fly Laphria sp. (Dip.: Asilidae)

Yellowjacket wasp Vespula alascensis (Hym.: Vespidae)

Nathan Fisk

August 1

2106 August 1




   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I haven’t found anyone to take over from me while I am on holiday, Aug 9 – 26, so Invertebrate Alert will be closed during that period.  When I get back, you can send me your observations or a very few of your very best photographs of unusual invertebrates, but please don’t send me huge numbers of photographs of our most frequently photographed insects during that period.  Thanks!


   Annie Pang sends photographs of two flies, kindly identified by Matthias Buck.


Syritta pipiens (Dip: Syrphidae)  Annie Pang


Villa sp.  (Dip.:  Bombyliidae)  Annie Pang



   Jeremy Tatum saw a young caterpillar of Lorquin’s Admiral on willow at King’s Pond today, August 1.  And in the evening, at 6:30 pm. there was a Red Admiral on the Mount Tolmie Reservoir, near the paint blotch.   Jess Gaskin reports a Western Tiger Swallowtail , which looked to him to be in pretty bad shape, in the flower garden in Esquimalt Gorge Park.


   Nathan Fisk sends three photographs from Saturna Island today.  I am reproducing two of them here.  The third is of too horrific a nature (X-rated) to be shown without advance warning, and is unsuitable for children or those with a nervous disposition.   I’ll post it as soon as we have exact identities of the species involved.  Watch this site.


Buprestis aurulenta (Col.: Buprestidae)  Nathan Fisk


Lophocampa maculata (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)   Nathan Fisk