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.

March 15

2015 March 15


            Jeremy Tatum shows a pug from his Saanich apartment this morning.  Pugs are small geometrids of the genus Eupithecia.  On first acquaintance they may seem to be rather uninteresting and boring.  There are lots of them, all brown and grey and hard to distinguish.  Yet it is a very successful group, with many species (more than 50 in British Columbia alone), many of them quite common.  The caterpillars feed mostly in flowers, and many of them are quite specialist, to be found in only a few particular species of flower.  Some species in Hawaii, such as E. orichloris, are far from uninteresting or boring, for they capture and feed on insects that visit flowers.   Two of our British Columbia species, E. annulata and E. olivacea are notoriously difficult to distinguish. I think the moth I show is probably E. annulata, but I wouldn’t want to eliminate E. olivacea as a possibility.  Both species are conifer feeders.


Probably Eupithecia annulata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Bill Katz sends photos of two moths from Goldstream Park, March 14, and a moth and a bug from Haro Woods, March 15.


Cerastis enigmatica (Lep.: Noctuidae)

Bill Katz


Xanthorhoe defensaria (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz

Autographa californica (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz

Brochymena affinis (Hem.: Pentatomidae)   Bill Katz

March 14

2015 March 14


   Gerry and Wendy Ansell write that there was a Mourning Cloak on Thursday March  12 by the grassy area by the Swan Lake Nature House.


   Barbara McGenere writes:  On March 12, Mike and I saw 3 fresh male Sara Orangetips on the lower south slope of Mount Douglas.  Two were seen together briefly, but mostly they were flying low, back and forth over the grassy Garry Oak slope.   Also at Mount Douglas was 1 Satyr Comma in the forest, basking in the sun, low on a tree trunk.  Also on March 12, there was 1 Satyr Comma along Lohbrunner Road, and 2 in Outerbridge Park.  Also on March 12, was a Cabbage White in my neighbours’ garden which has many plants in flower right now.


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Barbara’s sighting of a Sara Orangetip reminded me to check my pupa of one, which I have had since last year.  Here’s a photo of it.  The Orangetip pupae are pretty clever.  When they are first formed in the spring they are green. Late in the summer and early fall, they change to a straw colour – same as that of the surrounding vegetation.  Then in the winter they turn very dark – almost black – again matching the surrounding vegetation.  Anyone would think they didn’t want to be seen.


Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara Lep.: Pieridae)
Jeremy Tatum


   Bill Katz writes on March 13):   There was a green moth high up on the wall of the Goldstream Nature house that I’d never seen before.  I’ve identified it as Feralia deceptiva.  I’m attaching a shot of it taken at a distance.


   Bill also sends a photo of Orthosia praeses and a snout, which he suggests is Hypena californica.   Jeremy Tatum agrees that this is the most likely, but I don’t think we can rule out possibly H. decorata or H. modestoides.  We need to study these snouts a bit more to see which species we get here.


   Bill also writes: I saw several butterflies and a moth at Swan Lake early in the afternoon, including a small white and black moth that I suspect was Mesoleuca gratulata.  I also saw my first Mourning Cloak.


Feralia deceptiva (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz


Orthosia praeses (Lep.: Noctuidae) Bill Katz


Hypena sp. (Lep.:  Erebidae – Hypeninae) Bill Katz




March 13

2015 March 13


   Jeremy Tatum saw a Cabbage White at the Hillside shopping centre yesterday.


   James Miskelly’s fascinating talk on Tuesday about “grigs”  (i.e. Orthoptera!) had an immediate result – for Ann Nightingale responded with alacrity with a photo of a grig – a camel cricket – from a Pacific Dogwood tree in her yard (Central Saanich) after dark on March 11. 

Camel cricket Diestrammena sp. (Orth.: Rhaphidophoridae) Ann Nightingale


March 10

2015 March 10


   Colin Franks sends a photo of a comma from Dickson Avenue, North Saanich.   I’ll label it as a Satyr Comma – but if anyone thinks it might be another one, please let us know!   Although it is a well-photographed species, please keep sending good photos of them – we need more practice and experience in identifying them and distinguishing them from the other commas.


Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Colin Franks