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.

April 24

2014 April 24


   Daniel Dönnecke found a spectacular moth at the Interurban campus of Camosun College on April 23.  He was caught off-guard without a camera, but his colleague

Todd Rayson quickly stepped in and got a couple of fine photographs.  It is a male Ceanothus Silk Moth.  You can tell that it is a male because of its fine bipectinate antennae.  There’s a new word!  From the Latin pecten – pectinis,  a comb.


  These antennae are so sensitive that they can detect molecules of female pheromone from a distance of  ?  Well… some authors say more than a mile.  I don’t know if this is true, but, in case you are inclined to doubt it, remember what you were taught at school – that every breath you take contains at least one molecule from the dying breath of Julius  Caesar. (I don’t know if that’s true, either.)

Ceanothus Silk Moth Hyalophora euryalus (Lep.: Saturniidae) Todd Rayson


Bipectinate antennae (Hyalophora euryalus) Todd Rayson



   Scott Gilmore photographed a beautiful geometrid moth in Upper Lantzville on April 23.  Its genus is Cladara.  There are supposed to be two species in British Columbia, C. limitaria and C. atroliturata, but as far as we can make out the only difference between the two is that limitaria occurs on Vancouver Island and atroliturata doesn’t!  With that caution in mind, we’ll label this one as Cladara limitaria.

Cladara limitaria (Lep.: Geometridae)   Scott Gilmore

April 23

2015 April 23


   Happy St George’s Day, everyone!


   We are having some slight teething problems with the monthly Butterfly Count.  Notwithstanding previous instructions (which I have now corrected on the April 19 and 22 postings), it seems that the safest way to get your Butterfly Count results to Aziza is to log on to the Victoria Natural History Society website:


Look under “Popular Items” on the right hand side, and click on “Butterfly Count”.


Scott Gilmore writes: 

   Here are a couple of interesting finds from Monday (April 20th).  My first grasshopper of the year an Awl-shaped Pygmy Grasshopper (Tetrix subulata) and a very small beetle that I found crawling across my windscreen.  At 2 mm long this native of Australia is rather interesting once you get close enough to make out some details. Cartodere bifasciata 


Awl-shaped Pygmy Grasshopper Tetrix subulata (Orth.: Tetrigidae) Scott Gilmore

Cartodere bifasciata (Col: Latridiidae)  Scott Gilmore







April 22

2015 April 22


   An important message from Aziza:


Hi Butterfly Counters,


The VNHS website has been changed and the old Butterfly Count form link doesn’t work. Please log in to the Victoria Natural History website using the link:

Then, under “Popular Items” on the right hand side, click on “Butterfly Count”.

If you’ve submitted a count using the old form, could you please re-submit using the new form? I haven’t been receiving any of your count forms, so unless you re-send the data will be lost.


I’m really sorry for the extra work. Hopefully the transition will go smoothly now.


Thanks very much,

Aziza Cooper



   Nathan Fisk writes:  I spotted this Moss’s Elfin on a rock outcrop south of Thetis Lake.


Moss’s Elfin Incisalia mossii (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Nathan Fisk


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a click beetle from Mount Douglas Beach Park this morning.  Thank you, Scott Gilmore for identifying it for me!


Selatosomus suckleyi (Col.: Elateridae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Jeremy adds:  I saw a Satyr Comma and a Red Admiral at Lochside Drive south of Lohbrunner’s this afternoon.


   Bill Katz found a Cerisy’s Eyed Hawk Moth and an Anticlea vasiliata at Goldstream Park today.


Anticlea vasiliata (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz



April 21

2015 April 21


    Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a rather large ant from the carport of my Saanich apartment this morning.  The lines on the piece of card to the left of the photograph are 1 cm apart.  This is a species of Carpenter Ant of the genus Camponotus.


Carpenter Ant  Camponotus sp. (Hym.: Formicidae)   Jeremy Tatum


   Annie Pang sends a photograph of two crane flies in copulo from Gorge Park, April 20.

Crane flies Tipula sp. (Dip.: Tipulidae)  Annie Pang


   Val George writes:  Yesterday, April 20, I did a butterfly count on Mount Douglas for the April survey.  Conditions were ideal for these insects to fly.  My count was:  9 Spring Azures, 6 Sara Orangetips, 5 Propertius Duskywings, 4 Painted Lady, 2 California Tortoiseshells, 1 Cabbage White, 1 Satyr Comma.  I’ve attached photos of one of the Painted Ladies and one of the California Tortoiseshells.


Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Val George



   Nathan Fisk reports from Fort Rodd, April 20:  Mourning Cloak, Red Admiral, Grey Hairstreak‎ all sunning in the learning meadow. Many Cabbage Whites and Western Spring Azures flitting about too.



   Annie Pang photographed a hoverfly at The Gorge on April 17.   Syrphid expert Dr Jeff Skevington tells me that at present it is not usually possible to identify most syrphids from photographs, though he believes Annie’s is either Syrphus or Eupeodes, probably the latter.   These are attractive flies to photograph, so keep ‘em coming, even if we can’t always find an identification.


Hover fly Syrphus sp.  or  Eupeodes sp. (Dip.: Syrphidae)  Annie Pang


April 20

2015 April 20


   Barb McGrenere writes: There were many butterflies in Mount Douglas Park today (April 18). Most were near the summit, but 7 Western Spring Azures and many Sara Orangetips were lower down.  Species/numbers seen were:
7 Western Spring Azures, 5 Painted Ladies, 29 Sara Orangetips, 1 Cabbage White, 3 Grey Hairstreaks, 10 Propertius Duskywings, 4 California Tortoiseshells.  1 Mourning Cloak was seen by others hiking with Mike and me.


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  I did my bit for the Monthly Butterfly Count today (April 20) along Munn Road.  Mostly Sara Orangetips and Western Spring Azures, but also one Moss’s Elfin.  For details on how to participate in the Monthly Butterfly Count, see Aziza’s notice on April 19 – there is still time for you to participate!


  Also, a Mourning Cloak and a California Tortoiseshell were sunning themselves on the Mount Tolmie reservoir at 4:00 p.m. on April 20.  If you visit the reservoir from about 4 to 6 pm any day during the current warm and sunny spell, there’s a good chance that you’ll catch these butterflies or perhaps some other hill-topping nymphalids. 


  Annie Pang sends a picture of a male Cabbage White from Gorge Park, April 19.

Male Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Annie Pang


   Scott Gilmore, who admits to an inordinate fondness for beetles, writes from Lantzville:  With 99 families and close to 4000 species of beetles in British Columbia there is plenty of diversity. Over the weekend I was lucky enough to find members of two families I had yet to lay eyes on. On Saturday (April 18th) a buzzing sound next to my chair turned out to be a member of the Deathwatch Beetle family (Ptinidae) Vrilletta decorata. On Sunday (April 19th) I found a Clown Beetle (Histeridae) that I believe is the introduced Palaearctic species Margarinotus purpurascens which is known only in SW BC in North America.  I also had a fly-by Red Admiral at a baseball field in downtown Nanaimo on Sunday afternoon.

Vrilletta decorata (Col.: Ptinidae)  Scott Gilmore

Margarinotus purpurascens (Col. Histeridae) Scott Gilmore