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.

July 26

2016 July 26


   Request from Jeremy Tatum.  We are receiving photographs of a wonderful variety of insects and other invertebrates.  Often the photographer doesn’t know the species, and it is then great fun for us to track it down, and we enjoy doing that.  However, sometimes you do know the species.  If you do already know the species that you have photographed, please indicate what the species is – otherwise I have to spend time trying to identify it myself!  Thanks!


Gordon Hart writes:  The July count was down in numbers from June, but there were still 13 species compared with 11 last year. We had more Cabbage Whites and Pine Whites than 2015, but far fewer Woodland Skippers. Jeff Gaskin says that Lynda Dowling had already harvested her lavender, which last year accounted for over 1000 skippers. I had recorded only one Grey Hairstreak (in our yard), until I saw Nathan Fisk’s photo on the Invertalert from Fort Rodd Hill within the count period. I saw two others just prior to the count in the Pike Lake area, but I could not find them again. There were no West Coast Ladies seen on this year’s count.


Here is the July summary:


Anise Swallowtail           3

Cabbage White                      417

Essex Skipper                          11

Grey Hairstreak                        2

Lorquin’s Admiral                    50

Mourning Cloak                         2

Painted Lady                              6

Pale Tiger Swallowtail               3

Pine White                               52

Red Admiral                               6

Satyr Comma                             1

Western Tiger Swallotail        46

Woodland Skipper                  43



   Annie Pang sends a photograph of a Honey Bee Apis mellifera.




Honey Bee Apis mellifera  (Hym.: Apidae)  Annie Pang

Annie also sends a photograph of a robber fly.  Thanks to Rob Cannings for the identification as Eudioctria sackeni.



Eudioctria sackeni (Dip.: Asilidae)  Annie Pang

Marie O’Shaughnessy writes:  Here’s one of a few Pine Whites we saw Sunday July 24th 2016. This individual was seen at Trevlac Place at 2.20pm.



Male Pine White Neophasia menapia (Lep.: Pieridae)   Marie O’Shaghnessy




   Jeremy Tatum went to Cordova Spit today (July 26) looking for Western Branded Skippers, but he saw none.  Previous records suggest that we have to wait until August.  David Robichaud photographed one there last year on August 3.  Records there from previous years are August 6 and August 19.   Jeremy continues:  I had a consolation prize when I got back to the Island View Beach parking lot, where I saw an Anise Swallowtail.  Island View Beach is a possible locality for this species. The caterpillars there feed on Lomatium nudicaule and (don’t tell the botanists!) on Glehnia littoralis, both of which grow on the dunes.  Yesterday I spotted, through binoculars and just out of reach of my grasping hands, a very young caterpillar of a Western Tiger Swallowtail on a cottonwood (Populus sp.) at McIntyre Reservoir, Central Saanich.


Gordon Hart writes:  6 Woodland Skippers, a Grey Hairstreak and a Cabbage White in my Highlands yard today.



July 25

July 25


(Jeremy Tatum)


   I shall be away on holiday, safely out of the reach of computers, from August 9 to August 26, and I shall not be able to run Invertebrate Alert during that period.


   There are two possibilities – either find a volunteer to run it, or close it down, during that period.


   If anyone would like to try to operate it during that period, please let me know ( before the end of July.  You will need a little bit of training (not much), and there will have to be some technical adjustments to the program, so that we do need a volunteer to come forward before the end of July. (i.e. it can’t be a last-minute thing.)  With luck, things will be back to normal at the end of August.  I’ll let you know what happens.

   Nathan Fisk sends a picture of a Grey Hairstreak from Fort Rodd Hill, July 18.



 Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Nathan Fisk



   Scott Gilmore found a  jumping spider (Platycryptus californicus) and a greenbottle fly (Lucilia sp.) on July 20.


Jumping spider Platycryptus californicus (Ara.: Salticidae)


Greenbottle fly Lucilia sp. (Dip.: Calliphoridae)

Scott Gilmore



   Jeremy Tatum reports three Red Admirals and a Painted Lady on top of Mount Tolmie, July 25, 6:00 p.m.  Two of the Red Admirals were on the reservoir, and one was on the bramble patch. One of the Red Admirals seems particularly to like the blotches of coloured paint that have been spilled on the reservoir. The Painted Lady was on the side of the road next to the Jeffery Pine.


   Annie Pang sends a photograph of a bee, kindly identified by Sean McCann as Osmia sp.


Osmia sp. (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang



    Jeremy writes:  There still seem to be lots of exciting butterflies on some of the mountains of Vancouver Island, but in the immediate area of Victoria, the butterfly season seems to be coming to an end.  We can expect Pine Whites, Woodland Skippers and of course Cabbage Whites during July and August.  There were hundreds of Cabbage Whites in the Martindale /Island View area today.  Other late-season butterflies to be expected are Large Heath (“Ringlet”) and Purplish Copper.  An uncommon butterfly to look out for (Cordova Spit perhaps) is the Western Branded Skipper.


   While it is easy to record “first of year” of species, recording the “last of year” sightings is not so easy.  For that reason I would encourage viewers to continue to report sightings of swallowtails and Lorquin’s Admirals.  There are still a (very) few of them around.  Who knows, you may achieve fame by spotting the last one of the year.





July 24

2016 July 24


   Annie Pang sends a photograph of a Bald-faced Hornet,


Bald-faced Hornet Dolichovespula maculata (Hym.: Vespidae)  Annie Pang



   Liam Singh writes:  There were three or four Black Saddlebags today at Rathtrevor Park.


Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Liam Singh


Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Liam Singh



   Devon Parker writes:  My Dad and I went for looking for butterflies at Mount Brenton/Mount Hall area near Chemainus today (July 24). We found a total of 104 butterflies comprising 13 different species. I also witnessed a very unusual behaviour of female Clodius Parnassian ovipositing eggs on the leaves of Alder, not Bleeding Heart.

Sightings for the day:
1 Grey Hairstreak
1 Red Admiral
1 Western Sulphur
1 Western Meadow Fritillary
2 Comma sp.
2 Western Tiger Swallowtails
3 Dun Skippers
6 Anna’s Blue
8 Lorquin’s Admiral
12 Clodius Parnassian
13 Mariposa Coppers
15 Blues (most likely all Anna’s)
39 Fritillaries (Speyeria sp.)


Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius  (Lep.: Papilionidae)  Devon Parker



   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Not many butterflies left in the immediate vicinity of Victoria just now, so it is good to hear that there are still plenty elsewhere on the Island.  My visit to Mount Tolmie at 6:00 this evening was not quite as profitable as Devon’s  to  Mounts Brenton and Mount Hall, but for the record there were two Red Admirals there.



July 23

2016 July 23


   Jeremy Tatum writes:   Mount Tolmie, 6:00 pm. July 23.  A Red Admiral on the reservoir, and a Painted Lady on the roadside near the Jeffery Pine.


   Annie Pang sends a variety of photographs from Gorge Park.  First a small fly, identified by Dr Matthias Buck as a lauxaniid.


Fly (Dip.: Lauxaniidae)   Annie Pang



   Next, a small moth:


Many-plumed moth Alucita montana (Lep.: Alucitidae)  Annie Pang



   Then a spider:


Araneus diadematus (Ara.: Araneidae)   Annie Pang





July 22

2016 July 22


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I found a third-instar Red Admiral caterpillar at Swan Lake today.  Unlike the Lorquin’s Admiral caterpillars which I reported on July 20, which overwinter as young caterpillars, the Red Admiral caterpillar will produce an adult butterfly later this summer.