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 10

2015 July 10


   Cheryl Hoyle sends a photograph of lovely bluey-green example of Lacinipolia strigicollis  from View Royal, July 9.  Many examples of this moth are the usual mixture of browns and greys that make all noctuids look alike to those who are just starting to study them.  This is an exceptionally strikingly-marked individual, and I certainly didn’t recognize it.  Thanks to Jeremy Gatten for identifying it for us.


Lacinipolia strigicollis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Cheryl Hoyle


July 9

2015 July 09


   Cheryl Hoyle sends a photograph of a Sheep Moth caterpillar.   Viewers who see caterpillars of this species should be warned that, if handled, they may give you a nettle-like rash.


Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Cheryl Hoyle



   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today (July 9) I found another Red Admiral, and this time it was in Gorge Waterway Park at the corner of Tillicum Road and Gorge Road West. There may be quite a few of them around.


   Liam Singh sends photographs of a comma from Mount Cokely Road on June 14.  As is so often the case with commas – particularly when seen away from the immediate area around Victoria – identification of the exact species presents a challenge.  Jeremy Tatum writes that he thinks it is most likely a female Satyr Comma, but that he wouldn’t wager his pension pot on it.  We would welcome opinions (with reasons!).


(Satyr?) Comma Polygonia (satyrus?) (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Liam Singh


(Satyr?) Comma Polygonia (satyrus?) (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Liam Singh


July 8

2015 July 8


   (Sorry – No July 7 posting.)


   On the July 6 posting we showed a photograph of a bug, and I wrote that we’d probably not be able to identify it closer than that.  I had not reckoned on the expertise of our viewers. Scott Gilmore identified it as a mirid bug of the genus Lygus, and he pointed to an Internet image of it or a very similar bug by Rick and Libby Avis at


    In today’s posting, we have a few more not-fully-identified insects – and I look forward to hearing what our viewers may come up with.


   Karen Ferguson sends a photo from Mount Tuam Road on Salt Spring Island of a fresh fritillary nectaring on daisies. At press time we are not completely certain whether this is a Zerene or a Hydaspe.  Opinions (with reasons!) welcome.


Speyeria sp. (Lep.: Nymphalidae)

Karen Ferguson


   Chris Garrett sends a photograph of a Common Emerald Moth, July 6.


Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria

(Lep.: Geometridae)

Chris Garrett


   Nathan Fisk sends a photograph of an interesting insect that turned up in a sand box on July 7.  It is probably a larva of a predaceous beetle, perhaps a species of ladybird (Coccinellidae).


Beetle larva (Col.: Perhaps Coccinellidae)  Nathan Fisk



   Here is a caterpillar found recently at Cadboro Bay by Meilin Quong.  We don’t (yet?) know what it is. Possibly a lasiocampid.  Maybe even Tolype, but that’s a guess.


Unknown caterpillar, possibly Lasiocampidae    Meilin Quong



   The next photograph is of an insect that is rather easier to identify.  It is a Sheep Moth, which emerged last night from a pupa made last year by a caterpillar found in Beckwith Park.


Sheep Moth Hemileuca eglanterina (Lep.: Saturniidae) Jeremy Tatum



   Jeremy Tatum writes that there are still Painted Ladies and Red Admirals, some quite fresh, to be found in the evenings after about 6:00 p.m. on the reservoir or near the Jeffery Pine on the top of Mount Tolmie.  The tops of other local hills, such as Mount Douglas, Christmas Hill or Highrock Park would probably be worth a visit in the evenings.


   Barb McGrenere writes:  Pine White was the most numerous butterfly today on our walk at Elk Lake Park.  Five were flying near the tree tops, while three were flying low, nectaring on daisies and thistles.  We enjoyed excellent views of the low butterflies and they were in pristine condition.  We saw:  Pine White 8; Cabbage White 1; Western Tiger Swallowtail 3; European (Essex) Skipper 1.

Pine White Neophasia menapia (Lep.: Pieridae) Barb McGrenere





July 6

2015 July 6


   Aziza Cooper writes:  Yesterday’s VNHS monthly butterfly walk went to Boas Road near Spectacle Lake. In spite of the smoke obscuring the sky and blocking the sun, the temperature was very warm and the butterflies were active. Six butterfliers found six species:


Grey Hairstreaks nine on Pearly Everlasting flowers by the side of the road; one more in the clearcut.  [Pearly Everlasting flowers are also a larval foodplant – Jeremy]

Western Tiger Swallowtail – 1

European (Essex) Skipper – 1

Cabbage White – 3

Pine White – 1

Lorquin’s Admiral – 2


We searched for the Boisduval’s Blue, but didn’t see it today. Several very interesting insects were found by Jeremy and photographed by Aziza.


Several of us went on to Spectacle Lake where there were many dragonflies near the swimming beach – Eight-spotted Skimmers and others.


At our meeting place at the top of Mount Tolmie, we saw one Anise Swallowtail. A bonus sighting there was three Black Swifts.  [Birds – not hepialid moths!  Jeremy]


What Aziza doesn’t say is that I don’t think any of us had ever seen so many Grey Hairstreaks all in one day and in pristine condition, and that we found it a huge thrill – Thank you so much Aziza, from all of us!.




Grey Hairstreaks Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper



   The next insect is one that we found and photographed just to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t be calling any insect a “bug”.  Beetles, butterflies, wasps, dragonflies are not “bugs”.  The insect in the photograph is a bug – identified by Scott Gilmore as a mirid bug of the genus Lygus.


Lygus sp.  (Hem.: Miridae)    Aziza Cooper



   The next insect is not a bug.  It is in the Order that includes wasps, and my guess (Jeremy Tatum) is that it is an ichneumonid of the genus Rhyssa or a near relative.  It uses its long ovipositor to bore deeply into wood to lay its eggs on wood-boring larvae of other insects. 


Probably Rhyssa or near relative (Hym.: Icheumonidae)  Aziza Cooper




   Nor is this a bug – it is a moth of the Family Pterophoridae.  The best-known moth of this family in our area is Emmelina monodactyla, which looks quite like this one, but my recollection of this moth is that is was rather smaller than Emmelina monodactyla, and probably a different species.  Although it is very visible in the close-up photograph, from any distance its colour seemed to match that of the Pearly Everlasting flowers so well that it was not easy to spot.


Unknown moth (Lep.: Pterophoridae)   Aziza Cooper.



   On the same day, July 5,  Barb McGrenere reports:  At Mount Tolmie this afternoon, Mike and I saw:
Western Tiger Swallowtail 5
Anise Swallowtail  1
Pale Swallowtail  2
Cabbage White  2
Lorquin’s Admiral  6
European (Essex) Skipper  1

Then, at Finnerty Gardens (UVic) we saw:
Western Tiger Swallowtail  4
Lorquin’s Admiral  2
Pine White  1
Cabbage White  5


July 5

2015 July 5


   Aziza Cooper writes:  On July 4 I went to look for the Boisduval’s Blue which Dave Robichaud reported weeks ago. It was very hot and dry with very few flowers still in bloom. I was able to find one about 10 metres from the trailhead at the end of Boas Road. It was in the bracken fern on a withering fireweed. Also there was one worn Grey Hairstreak, a flyby hairstreak and two Lorquin’s Admirals along the road.


Boisduval’s Blue Icaricia icarioides (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper


Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Aziza Cooper



    Jeremy Tatum writes:  Cheryl Hoyle sends us a photograph of a moth from View Royal today, July 5.  It is a species of Drepanulatrix.  This genus always gives us trouble in identification.  Usually we have to try to choose from D. foeminaria, D. secundaria and D. monicaria.  Often the photographs that we are sent resemble monicaria more than the other two – as does this one.  The snag is that monicaria does not seem to be on the official list of British Columbia moths.  However as far as I can tell the moth in Cheryl’s photograph does seem to be Drepanulatrix monicaria – and that is how I am going to label it.


Drepanulatrix monicaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Cheryl Hoyle