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 28

2015 March 28


   Jeremy Tatum sends three photographs taken today.  He writes:  I am gradually trying to learn to identify our pugs.  Eupithecia ravocostaliata is one of the larger ones, with distinctive markings, and relatively easy to identify – although even it has a look-alike (E.. nevadata).  This one was on the wall of my Saanich apartment this morning.


  In yesterday’s posting, I showed the pupa of a Sara Orangetip with the colour of the wings of the imago showing through.  Sure enough, the butterfly – a male – emerged today.  After photographing it, I took it out to Munn Road, where the caterpillar came from last year.


  Finally, a snail, Cepaea nemoralis, from McIntyre Reservoir.


Eupithecia ravocostaliata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jeremy Tatum

Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara (Lep.: Pieridae) Jeremy Tatum

Cepaea nemoralis (Pul.: Helicidae) Jeremy Tatum


   Bill Savale reports two Cabbage Whites from Poplar Avenue, Saanich, on March 27.

March 27

2015 March 27


   Libby Avis sends some recent photos of noctuid moths from Port Alberni:

Acerra normalis from Feb 25th

Pleromelloida conserta March 11th

Xylena curvimacula March 16th

Xylena nupera March 13th


Acerra normalis (Lep.: Noctuidae) Libby Avis

Pleromelloida conserta (Lep.: Noctuidae) Libby Avis


Xylena curvimacula (Lep.: Noctuidae) Libby Avis


Xylena nupera (Lep.: Noctuidae) Libby Avis




   Jeremy Tatum writes:  On March 14 I showed a photograph of an Orangetip chrysalis.  Here is the same chrysalis today – you can see the wing colour of the butterfly that will shortly emerge.


Sara Orangetip Anthocharis sara (Lep.: Pieridae) Jeremy Tatum


   Barb McGrenere writes:  Mike and I took a walk up the road to Observatory Hill this afternoon (March 26) and saw eight Sara Orangetips on the way up and near the summit; and one California Tortoiseshell basking on the asphalt beside one of the telescope buildings and then basking on the roof over the entrance to that building.


 Gerry Ansell writes:  On a walk up Christmas Hill late this afternoon (Friday March 27), Wendy and I saw our first Milbert’s Tortoiseshell of the year.  We also saw at least four Sara Orangetips and one Cabbage White.


March 26

2015 March 25


   Libby Avis sends a photo of an almost full-grown Lorquin’s Admiral caterpillar from her greenhouse in Alberni.  This is astonishingly early for a caterpillar in this stage; at this time of year they would normally be found in their overwintering stage, which is a tiny first-instar caterpillar.  Presumably the combination of greenhouse plus mild winter did the trick. It was feeding on Scouler’s Willow, one of the usual foodplants.


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


   Libby seems to be getting far more moths up there than we do here in Victoria, for she writes:  Starting to get quite a bit of activity at the light now – we`re up to 28 species for March so far, but pretty much the usual suspects:

Lithophanebaileyi, innominata, petulca and georgii

Xylena – nupera,  curvimacula

Egirahiemalis and several crucialis

Acerra normalis, Anticlea vasiliata, Cerastis enigmatica, Ypsolopha falciferella, Pleromelloida conserta (both dark and light versions) and a couple of Zale lunata

Piles of Triphosa, Orthosia (both hibisci and praeses) and numerous Peridroma saucia.

Several Eupithecia including one gilvipennata which is not that common here.


March 23



2015 March 23


   Rosemary Jorna writes from Kemp Lake Road:  On March 21 I was out on Kristiina Ovaska’s Slug and Snail walk at Devonian Park and she introduced us to Vertiginidae family of micro snails.  Today I thought I would check our maple trees and I found eight to ten of them.


Nearctula sp.: (Pul.: Vertiginidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Nearctula sp.: (Pul.: Vertiginidae)  Rosemary Jorna

   Jeremy Tatum remarks:  These tiny snails (there are several species) are from 1 to 3 mm in size.  Viewers might look at a ruler to remind themselves just how tiny this is!



March 22

2015 March 22


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Judy Smith telephoned yesterday from her house on Grant Street to say that she had unearthed several caterpillars while she was digging in the soil in her garden.  Unsurprisingly, these turned out to be rather unprepossessing prepupal caterpillars of Noctua pronuba, a European invader often found in gardens.  She also found a mystery object, which I believe to be the cocoon of a hymenopterous parasitoid, probably an ichneumonid from its size.  Maybe it had come from a pronuba caterpillar.  [Added later:  It turned out to be a species of Ophion.]


Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba (Lep.: Noctuidae) Jeremy Tatum

Cocoon of Ophion sp.  (Hym.: Ichneumonidae)  Jeremy Tatum

   Jeremy continues:   And here is an Egira curialismoth from my Saanich apartment this morning.


Egira curialis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Tatum


And this from Scott Gilmore from Upper Lantzville: I have never looked at the Invert Alert page with such fantastic timing. I found a Eupithecia species on my house this morning (March 21) that I have never seen before. Seeing Jeremy Gatten’s Eupithecia gilvipennata  from March 20 makes me think I found a much less boldly marked individual. I have attached a picture of the moth I found.


Eupithecia gilvipennata (Lep.: Geometridae) Scott Gilmore

   Jeremy Gatten writes from Saanichton:  It’s that time of the year again.  Behrensia conchiformis, that beautiful moth that lacks a common name, will start putting in appearances under lights to dazzle people with its striking green flecks.



Behrensia conchiformis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jeremy Gatten