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.

June 29

2015 June 29


   Sorry no posting yesterday – not enough business!


   Jeff Gaskin writes: On Sunday morning, June 28, while still in the sunshine there was a Red Admiral in the southwest corner of Swan Lake . It was near a patch of nettles which was near the bridge that crosses Swan Creek not far from the highway.  [Jeremy Tatum comments:  Yes, there have been caterpillars in that nettle patch!]


  Rob Gowan reports an interesting moth from the summit of Mount Washington from the June 20 trip.  It is Anarta nigrolunata, which is a moth that occurs in the alpine meadows of high mountains.  We are struggling with technical computer difficulties, but we’ll try and show Rob’s fine photograph of it if we can just tame these computers.


  Scott Gilmore writes from Upper Lantzville:  On Sunday (June 28) we found some interesting longhorn beetles and a couple of flies.  I can name the beetles as least to genus, and John H Ascher has identified the flies (snipe flies – Rhagionidae) to genus.


Phymatodes sp. (Col.: Cerambycidae) Scott Gilmore


Xestoleptura crassicornis (Col.: Cerambycidae) Scott Gilmore


Necydalis sp. (Col.: Cerambycidae)  Scott Gilmore


   Scott describes this as a wasp mimic.  Jeremy Tatum comments: Yes I have seen this one or a congener myself, and it is a quite astonishing ichneumonid (a sort of wasp in the broad sense) mimic.  The one thing that gives it away is that it is fairly lethargic – whereas an icheumonid is constantly on the move and its antennae are constantly in motion. Other than that, the resemblance of this beetle to an icheumonid is truly astonishing.


Snipe fly Chrysopilus sp. (Dip.: Rhagionidae) Scott Gilmore


Snipe fly  Rhagio sp. (Dip.:  Rhagionidae)  Scott Gilmore




   Two micro moths, photographed recently by Bill Katz and Jeremy Tatum, have recently been indentified for us by Eric LaGasa:


Pandemis cerasana (Lep.: Tortricidae)   Bill Katz


Herpetogramma pertextalis (Lep.: Crambidae)  Jeremy Tatum

June 27

2015 June 27


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I tried my little bit of the monthly Butterfly Count today along the Munn Road power lines, but it was too hot for me and even for the butterflies and all I saw was a couple of Essex Skippers.  However, I did find a Western Brown Elfin caterpillar, unusually on Ocean Spray.  I have very occasionally found it on Ocean Spray before, although its usual foodplant is Salal.  The head, by the way, is towards the left in the photograph.


Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Jeremy Tatum


  Some may doubt that it can be too hot for butterflies, but Annie Pang makes the same observation (particularly for dark butterflies), only she expresses it better than I can:


A Lorquin’s Song on a hot day

Beneath the shadows I retreat
to find respite from scorching heat
before the day is far from done,
I hide myself from too much sun.
My wings are dark, my wings are frail,
I must protect each tiny scale
for life is short and life is rough,
and for a butterfly, it’s tough.
We fight for mates so we can breed
so we’ll live on in next year’s seed,
But in this heat today I hide
and in the shadows I’ll abide
until I’m cool enough to sun
before the day is all but done.
© Annie Pang



Hiding from the sun

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

Annie Pang

 Cool enough to sun

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

Annie Pang


June 26

2015 June 26


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Last weekend, June 20 , 21, Nairn Hollott, who lives in the 4300 block of Prospect Lake Road., had at her place 2 male Purplish Coppers and one rather fresh Satyr Comma.  Today, I hiked the Galloping Goose trail from Sooke Road at Glen Lake Road to the Colwood Corners and had the following results: 42 Cabbage Whites, 23 Western Tiger Swallowtails, 8 Lorquin’s Admirals, 7 Pale Swallowtails, and 1 Painted Lady. The Painted Lady was actually in Colwood Creek Park which is right off the Goose trail near Jacklin Road.


   Jeremy Tatum writes that there were two Common Emerald moths outside his back door this morning – alas, in too awkward a place to photograph.


  Annie Pang sends a photograph of a Lorquin’s Admiral


Lorquin’s Admiral Limenitis lorquini (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Annie Pang


June 25

2105 June 25


   Devon Parker writes:  This big boy is hanging out in the garden right now. Can you tell
me what he is please?  Jeremy Tatum replies:  Yes, certainly!  It is a ten-lined June beetle Polyphylla sp. probably crinita.


Ten-lined June Beetle Polyphylla crinita

(Col.: Scarabaeidae)

Devon Parker

   Aziza Cooper sends a photograph of two European (Essex) Skippers from Quick’s Bottom, June 23, and a Western Pondhawk from Tod Inlet, June 22.


 European (Essex) Skippers Thymelicus lineola (Lep.: Hesperiidae) Aziza Cooper


 Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata (Odo.: Libellulidae) Aziza Cooper

   Jeremy Tatum shows photographs of two Nycteola frigidana, reared from caterpillars found at Munn Road.


Nycteola frigidana (Lep.: Nolidae) Jeremy Tatum

Nycteola frigidana
(Lep.: Nolidae) Jeremy Tatum


Gordon Hart writes:  Back at home it is a week for large moths – a Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus, was fluttering around, and then, last evening, we saw a hawk moth nectaring on the petunia baskets but it was too dark for pictures . Today I almost stepped on one. It was still alive so I put it on one of the flower baskets where it stayed a while for a few pictures.




Polyphemus Moth Antheraea polyphemus (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Gordon Hart


Sphinx perelegans (Lep.:  Sphingidae)  Gordon Hart



June 24

2015 June 24


Aziza Cooper writes:  Yesterday afternoon, Mount Tolmie had a busy group of butterflies at the reservoir:

Western Tiger Swallowtail – 4

West Coast Lady – 1

Painted Lady – 4

Red Admiral – 1

Lorquin’s Admiral – 1

Cabbage White – 1

The Painted Ladies are mostly along the road on the north side of the summit. The reservoir was occupied by an exercise class at 6pm, and the butterflies were ousted. [Jeremy Tatum writes: The West Coast Lady was back on the reservoir at 7:00 pm – an absolutely pristine fresh specimen.  They must have bred locally.   Check mallow plants for caterpillars.]



Aziza continues: Government House has a sunny lawn east of the main building where I’ve seen a Red Admiral on three visits in the late afternoon during the last two weeks. There are also four Western Tiger Swallowtails that fly around the same area.




  Barb McGrenere writes that on June 20, Mike found a hawk moth caterpillar near Jennings Lane, Elk Lake Park.  Barb took a photo, not quite in focus, but good enough to see that it is something exciting.  The moth Hyles lineata comes to mind, but I have never seen one quite this colour or with quite this pattern.  Green caterpillars often turn brown shortly before pupating, and the fact that this one was on the ground suggests that it was on its way to find somewhere to pupate.  Caterpillar expert Dr David Wagner believes that it is probably lineata, and he comments that they were moving north in huge numbers this spring, so perhaps we can expect to see a few more of them.  If it is not lineata, then it is something I have never seen before – but I think that that yellow caudal horn tells us that it is indeed probably lineata.

Probably Hyles lineata (Lep.: Sphingidae) Barb McGrenere



   Jeremy Tatum writes: Here are two moths from my Saanich apartment this morning, June 24, and a chrysalis (again – chrysos = gold!) of a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell from one of the caterpillars found during the Metchosin Bioblitz.


Silver-spotted Tiger Moth Lophocampa argentata

(Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)

Jeremy Tatum

 Enargia infumata (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum


Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Aglais milberti (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Jeremy Tatum



   Cheryl Hoyle sends a photograph of a Common Emerald moth from View Royal, June 23.


Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria (Lep.: Geometridae)  Cheryl Hoyle