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 1

2015 August 1


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  In yesterday’s (July 31) posting we posted details of the August monthly butterfly walk, which is to be to the Kinsol Trestle.  We dutifully posted where to meet (at the top of Mount Tolmie), and at what time (noon), but I have just realized that we omitted one minor detail – the date!  It is to be Sunday August 2.  Apologies for that, but we hope to see you anyway. All welcome.  Other details in the July 31 posting (just scroll down a few inches).


   The flowerheads of umbelliferous plants – such as Wild Carrot (“Queen Anne’s Lace”) and others are at present attracting lots of interesting bees, wasps and flies.  All you have to do is to set up your camera, on a tripod if you have one, focussed on an umbelliferous flower, and photograph each insect as it comes.  The one snag is going to be identification.  I’m not particularly knowledgeable on those groups, so we’ll need some help with identification.


  I’m slightly more knowledgeable about caterpillars – so here’s a nice one from Panama Flats today:


Acronycta dactylina (Lep.: Noctuidae)   Jeremy Tatum



  Apologies to contributors for posting this so early in the day, before you have had a chance to submit your today’s photos – but I had to get that notice about the date of the Butterfly Walk posted a.s.a.p.

July 31

2015 July 31


Monthly Butterfly Walk


Aziza Cooper writes: 

Hello, butterfly watchers,


For the August Butterfly Walk I’d like to suggest that we meet at the top of Mount Tolmie at noon instead of 1pm, and then go to Kinsol Trestle, near Shawnigan Lake. It’s the August long weekend, so it will be a good holiday outing and a chance of more variety in butterflies than we are likely to find in Victoria. As always, the walk is dependent on good weather and will be cancelled if the weather is cold or raining.


Jeremy Tatum’s list of butterflies sighted in past years include Hydaspe Fritilliary, Clodius Parnassian, Dun Skipper and Western Tailed Blue.


I’d like to meet at noon instead of 1pm to allow for the driving time which will be about an hour.


Here are the directions:


From Victoria:  From the Trans Canada Highway turn west onto Mill Bay/Shawnigan Lake Road and go all the way into the Village of Shawnigan Lake. Turn right onto Shawnigan Lake Road and follow it until it turns into Renfrew Road. Follow Renfrew road past the end of the Lake to Gleneagles Road and turn right. There is a public parking area about 550 metres down the road on the right hand side. Park here and walk to the Trestle on the Cowichan Valley Trail which is approximately 1.2 km in distance.


Here’s a link to the website:


Comments/questions: tanageraz AT, or phone me at 250-516-7703.



Aziza Cooper



   Rosemary Jorna writes:  This water beetle is over 3 cm in size. It was in the Phillips’
garden pond near Kemp Lake; they caught it when looking for pond life to
show tonight at the Sooke Children’s Garden Club.


   Scott Gilmore identifies it for us as a female Predacious Diving Beetle of the genus Dytiscus.

 Dytiscus sp. (Col.: Dytiscidae)         Rosemary Jorna


Dytiscus sp. (Col.: Dytiscidae)         Rosemary Jorna



    Jeremy Tatum writes:  We have had some, but only a very, very few, aquatic animals on this site. There is a whole world of invertebrates out there in rivers and ponds just waiting to be watched and photographed. There will be technical difficulties to overcome, which will be a challenge to photographers, but it will be wonderful to see more of these aquatic creatures.


   This site was originally intended for terrestrial invertebrates, which certainly includes pond life, though I notice that the current heading at the top of the site does not include the work “terrestrial”.   We’ll have to restore that!  Occasionally I have received photographs of animals that don’t come into this category, and I have reluctantly not posted them.  Recently I received some excellent photographs of seashore invertebrates.  This raises the question: When naturalists take photographs of things other than terrestrial invertebrates, where can they be posted so that other naturalists can enjoy them, and so that the photographer gets some appreciation for his/her work?  SUGGESTIONS PLEASE.


   Would anyone like, for example, to set up a website, similar to this one, but covering, for example, seashore life?  It’s great fun doing it. If you are not a computer expert (as I’m not) and have no idea how to set up a website (as I haven’t) there are computer exerts around who would be happy to set up a site, so that all you have to do is to receive photographs as they are sent in, and paste it into the website, which is routine after you have been shown how to do it and have done it once or twice.  Please let us hear some suggestions, and perhaps even volunteer to run a seashore website.  We have some seashore photos from contributors right now, and we don’t want them just to disappear!

July 30

2015 July 30


   Aziza Cooper sends a picture of a dragonfly from Rocky Point, July 28.  We weren’t sure what it was, so thanks to Rob Cannings, who writes:  “A bit of a tricky one, but pretty sure this is a young female Striped Meadowhawk.”


Striped Meadowhawk Sympetrum pallipes (Odo.: Libellulidae)  Aziza Cooper


   Gordon Hart writes:  Today, July 29,at home (Highlands), we saw a Cedar Hairstreak on some Oregano flowers . This would be a second generation since I don’t think we have seen any since May or early June. There were also many Woodland Skippers (25-30) on the lavender and buddleia flowers, and a couple of  Lorquin’s Admirals.


  Jeremy Tatum writes:  Yes, this does seem to be rather late for a Cedar Hairstreak.  Whether it is a genuine second generation (i.e. hatched from an egg laid this year) or just a late individual from a 2014 egg we can’t be sure.  I have no experience in rearing this species, but as far as I know it is supposed to be univoltine here.


Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Gordon Hart


July 29

2105 July 29


   Bill Katz sends a photograph of a plusiine moth Abrostola urentis  from Goldstream Park, July 27.  The caterpillar is a nettle-feeder, and, unlike most plusiines, it has a full complement of abdominal prolegs.


Abrostola urentis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Bill Katz


   He also sends an image of a bombyliid fly, possible genus Anthrax, also from Goldstream, and, just to remind us that this Invertebrate site is not just for insects, he sends us a picture of the millipede Harpaphe haydeniana.


Probably Anthrax sp. (Dip.: Bombyliidae)  Bill Katz

 Harpaphe haydeniana (Polydesmida: Xystodesmidae)  Bill Katz



   Jeremy Tatum writes: The Anise Swallowtail caterpillar from Jochen Moehr’s Metchosin farm, which first appeared on this site on July 13 and again on July 20 and 26, has now pupated (chrysalis shown below).  The adult will probably emerge next spring, although there is a small chance that it might emerge later this year.  Unlike the tiger swallowtails, which are univoltine, the Anise Swallowtail occasionally has a second brood  (is partially bivoltine).




Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon (Lep.: Papilionidae)   Jeremy Tatum


   Aziza Cooper sends some pictures from Rocky Point, July 27 and 28.  The caterpillar is that of the Vapourer Moth, also known as Rusty Tussock.  The adult male is a rusty brown day-flying moth often seen flying in a rapid corkscrew-style flight and which could be mistaken for a butterfly (I’ve done so!).  The female is wingless. After emergence from the pupa she sits on her cocoon, waits for a male to visit her, and then she lays all her eggs in a batch on the cocoon.  And that’s all she ever gets to do.


Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua (Lep.:  Erebidae – Lymantriinae)  Aziza Cooper


Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper



   In this prolonged hot and sunny spell, the butterfly season seems to have moved along faster than usual, and now it almost looks as though the season is coming to a close.  I hope this is not so.  In any case, one butterfly that is still around in large numbers is the Woodland Skipper, and Annie Pang sends a photograph of one on July 25 in characteristic hesperiine pose.


Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Annie Pang


   Aziza Cooper writes that at Rocky Point on July 27, she counted 25 Woodland Skippers, 4 Cabbage Whites and 1 Red Admiral.


   Jochen Moehr sends a photograph of a Woodland Skipper likewise in characteristic hesperiine pose, and an unknown bee – c’mon! – there must be some expert out there who can identify it for us!  Please let us know.


 Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Jochen Moehr


Unknown bee (Hymenoptera)   Jochen Moehr



July 28


2015 July 28


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I suppose I should have saved my White-faced Hornet note (July 26) for today, because today seems to be a Hymenoptera day.


Rosemary Jorna sends pictures of a fierce-looking wasp from Sooke Potholes, July 27.  If anyone can identify it to species, please let us know.


Wasp (yellowjacket)  Vespula sp. (Hym.: Vespidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Wasp (yellowjacket)  Vespula sp. (Hym.: Vespidae)  Rosemary Jorna

  Annie Pang sends some pictures of leafcutter bees.  The one below was photographed at Gorge Park on July 18. Thanks to Jared Amos, University of Alberta, for the identification.


Leafcutter bee Megachile (probably perihirta) (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang

Leafcutter bee Megachile (probably perihirta) (Hym.: Megachilidae)  Annie Pang


Cheryl Hoyle sends a picture of the larva of a giant sawfly from Metchosin.




Giant sawfly Trichiosoma triangulum (Hym.: Cimbicidae) Cheryl Hoyle