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 21

2015 July 21


   Rosemary Jorna writes: This handsome beetle was investigating the wet sand at the edge of the Sooke River at the Potholes this afternoon (July 20).  Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying it for us as Leptura obliterata.


Leptura obliterata (Col.: Cerambycidae)   Rosemary Jorna


   Scott Gilmore writes:  My son found a nifty fruitfly at a window. I am not entirely sure but I think it is a Rosehip Fly Rhagoletis basiola.  [Jeremy Tatum responds: Well, I’m sure enough of it to label it as such!]


Rose Hip Fly Rhagoletis basiola (Dip.: Tephritidae)  Scott Gilmore



   Julie Michaux writes:  Our 3-year-old grandson picked up this expired specimen from the floor in the garage. We would all like to know its name.  Jeremy Tatum responds: Well! That’s quite a challenge, for it’s well past its Best-Before Date.  It’s obviously a geometrine, but it’s not the usual one, the European Common Emerald.  It is one of our natives.  I cannot be completely sure, but I think it’s most likely  Nemoria glaucomarginaria.


Probably Nemoria glaucomarginaria (Lep.: Geometridae)

Julie Michaux

July 20

2105 July 20


   Aziza Cooper writes: Hello, butterfly watchers,


For the August Butterfly Walk I’d like to suggest that we meet at noon instead of 1pm, and 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. (It could be too late in the year for Western Tailed Blue.)


It’s almost two weeks until August 2nd, the date of the walk. I’m giving the group a bit more time to think about it, since it will be a longer expedition than usual. 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:


I’ll send out a reminder notice before the weekend of August 1- 2.


Comments/questions: hit Reply, or phone me at 250-516-7703.




   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Jochen Moehr entrusted me with two of the Anise Swallowtail caterpillars that were feeding on his parsley (see July 13 posting).   They are half-grown now and enjoying feeding on Oenanthe sarmentosa.


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



     Aziza Cooper writes:  I went to Moss Rock Park this evening (July 19) and saw 6 butterflies – 4 Painted Ladies, a Red Admiral and a West Coast Lady. The summit is a scramble to get to; quite steep, without a good trail. At Government House, six Western Tiger Swallowtails and one Red Admiral were at the lawn east of the House, and at Mount Tolmie reservoir, another 4 Painted Ladies, a Red Admiral and a West Coast Lady.  Hilltops seem to be the only consistent place to find butterflies around here.  My visit to Goldstream RR tracks was pretty slow, with two Pine Whites, 4 Lorquin’s Admirals, and 10 skippers, mostly Woodland.


   In case any viewers have not yet visited Mount Washington to see the wonderful butterflies there, here is today’s contribution from Mike Yip:  A leisurely trip to Mt. Washington on Friday (July 17) yielded 15 species. First stop was at the start of the Mt. Washington road where we encountered 4 Common Woodnymph and several Woodland Skippers. Before we got to the first ski hill we had added Grey Hairstreak, Lorquin’s Admiral,  Cabbage White, Mariposa Copper, Hydaspe Fritillary, Anna’s Blue, Silvery Blue, Painted Lady, Clodius Parnassian. At the first ski hill we added Purplish Copper and Common Branded Skipper. We only spent 20 minutes at the peak but added Great Arctic and Anise Swallowtail. In all we found 3 Painted Ladies –  all new generation in mint condition. The Great Arctics were all fairly well worn and in poor condition. Silvery Blues were also near the end of their days.


Common Woodnymph Cercyonis pegala (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)  Mike Yip



Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip


Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon (Lep.:  Papilionidae)  Mike Yip



Great Arctic Oeneis nevadensis (Lep.: Nymphalidae – Satyrinae)  Mike Yip




Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip



Common Branded Skipper Hesperia comma (Lep.: Hesperiidae)   Mike Yip

July 19

2015 July 19


   Annie Pang sends three recent photographs of the Large Yellow Underwing moth – a European invader.  Her pictures give examples of the fairly large variability of the species, but the dark double dot near the apex of the forewing is diagnostic.



Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang



Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae) Annie Pang


   Jeremy Tatum visited Mount Tolmie at 7:00 pm on July 18 and found, in addition to Painted Ladies and Red Admirals, a West Coast Lady – scarcely recognizable as such, but still flying strongly and indulging in frantic chases with other butterflies.


  Aziza Cooper writes:  This evening, July 18, I went to two hilltops in Fairfield and Oak Bay and found butterflies at both of them. At Gonzales Hill off Fairfield Road at about 7:30pm, two Painted Ladies were interacting at the lawn next to the parking lot. At Anderson Hill about 8:00 pm, one Red Admiral and one Painted Lady were at the top of the hill next to the chain-link fence on the eastern boundary.


With Mt Douglas, Mt Tolmie and Government House, this makes five hilltopping locations in Victoria. Other summits would be worth checking, for instance, Moss Rock Park, Highrock Park in Esquimalt, Mill Hill, Knockan Hill and Christmas Hill. If anyone is hiking in late afternoon or evening, please check Observatory Hill, Jocelyn Hill and Mount Work.


Any other rocky summits would also be worth checking. Probably there are hilltopping butterflies at Goldstream Heights, Spectacle Lake and other locations further out.




July 18



2015 July 18


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Hi Butterfly Counters,


Today begins the July Butterfly Count. The count period is from the 3rd Saturday to the 4th Sunday: July 18 to July 26.


Please use the form at to submit your results. Submit a separate form for each area you count, so I can take the higher number in case of double counting.


If you’d like a suggestion about what area to count, send me an email.


If you want to be removed from this list or if you know of anyone who would like to be added, please email me.


Thanks for submitting your sightings, and happy counting!


The monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month. The next walk is on August 2. We meet at Mt Tolmie summit at 1:00pm and decide on our destination from there. The walk will be cancelled if the weather is cool or rainy.



Devon Parker writes:  I was up on the San Juan Ridge (that’s 22 km E of Port Renfrew) today and I found six species of butterflies and managed to get photos of 5 of them. I got lucky and found two blue-listed ones. Anna’s Blue (Lycaeides anna vancouverensis) and Clodius Parnassian (Parnassius clodius claudiannus). There were many (25+) Mariposa Copper (Lycaena mariposa mariposa) just viewed from the roadside. There was a single male Anna’s Blue (Lycaeides anna vancouverensis). There were two Clodius Parnassians (Parnassius clodius claudiannus). There was a single Hydaspe Fritillary (Speyeria hydaspe rhodope). There was one Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini ilgae). I also saw what I believe was a single Pyrgus ruralis ruralis.


[Jeremy Tatum writes:  Gosh, San Juan Ridge sounds like a place well worth visiting for butterfly watchers. We don’t usually delve into subspecies on this site, but Devon has given us the trinomial names that have been given for recognizable races that have been proposed for Vancouver Island, so I have included them in this posting. Two races of the Mariposa Copper have been reported from Vancouver Island, and it is not certain from the photograph which species is involved here.   Also on this site I use the traditional name “Parnassian” for butterflies of the genus Parnassius, since the name “Apollo” properly belongs to the particular species Parnassius apollo, a species which we do not get here.   “Clodius Apollo” is a mixture of two separate species names!  Devon wisely doesn’t give us an English name for Pyrgus ruralis.  While some authors give it the name “Two-banded Checkered Skipper”, the genus Pyrgus properly belongs to the grizzled skippers and not to the checkered (chequered) skippers (Carterocephalus).]


Mariposa Coppers Lycaena mariposa (Lep.:  Lycaenidae)   Devon Parker

Anna’s Blue Lycaeides anna (Lep.: Lycaenidae)   Devon Parker

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


Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Devon Parker

Lastly, Jeremy Tatum writes that at 7:00 pm on July 16, several Painted Ladies and two Red Admirals were still hill-topping on Mount Tolmie.




July 17

2015 July 17


   No July 16 posting.


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Mount Tolmie, July 16, 7:00 p.m.   Still several Painted Ladies and one very fresh Red Admiral either basking on the reservoir, or flying around or basking on the road next to the Jeffery Pine.  


   No further news at press time.