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 17 morning

2021 April 17 morning


   Jeremy Tatum writes that, at 5:30 pm on April 16, there were a California Tortoiseshell and a Mourning Cloak on the Mount Tolmie Reservoir.


Thomas Barbin sends a photograph of a cocoon of the Ceanothus Silk Moth Hyalophora euryalus attached to an Ocean Spray twig.  He spotted a second one on Manzanita.


Ceanothus Silk Moth Hyalophora euryalus (Lep.: Saturniidae)  Thomas Barbin


Jeremy Tatum  writes:   We have had recent photographs of three species of comma, so here’s an exercise – photographed by Ron Flower at the Goldstream River yesterday.  Which one is it?  Well, I think there’s really no doubt that this is a male Satyr Comma.


Male Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower



Male Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Ron Flower

   Ron and Nora also saw this bee, kindly identified for us by Annie Pang as a queen Bombus melanopygus.


Bombus melanopygus (Hym.: Apidae)  Ron Flower

   Jochen Möhr photographed this moth in Metchosin last night.

Behrensia conchiformis (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr


April 16

2021 April 16


Gordon Hart writes:

Hello Butterfly Watchers,

   The first Butterfly Count period for 2021 starts Saturday April 17 until Sunday April 25. With the sudden warm weather we will likely see many of our spring species. This is an informal census of butterfly numbers and species in Greater Victoria. The area is defined by the Christmas Bird Count circle, extending from Victoria to Brentwood Bay and Island View Road in Central Saanich, and west to Happy Valley and Triangle Mountain, and Langford Lake and Goldstream areas. 


   You can submit a count any time over the count period;  just use a separate form for each count and location. In the case of repeat or duplicate counts, I will use the higher numbers. To submit counts, please use the form from the VNHS website at: , or look under the “Programs” tab. On the form, clicking on a butterfly name will take you to a Butterflies of Canada website with information on that species.


   If you have difficulty with using the form, just send me an email with the information. Thank-you for submitting your sightings and good luck with your count.



Gordon Hart,

Butterfly Count Coordinator,

Victoria Natural History Society


   Jochen Möhr sends a picture of a male Cabbage White from Metchosin, April 15.


Male Cabbage White Pieris rapae (Lep.: Pieridae)  Jochen Möhr


   Jochen also managed to get a sharper shot of his Sabulodes aegrotata:

Sabulodes aegrotata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr


   Gordon Hart writes:  Yesterday, Thursday, April 15, we saw our first of the year Western Spring Azure, as well as two Green Commas, and a Cabbage White.  I have attached a picture of the blue, since it is the first of the year.


Western Spring Azure Celastrina echo (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Gordon Hart


   Mike Yip writes:  For the third year in a row since discovered by Mark Wynja, an Oreas Comma has been found basking in exactly the same spot on Little Mountain Road near Parksville.  Also seen in the area were two California Tortoiseshells and one Mourning Cloak


  Yesterday,  we showed pictures of Polygonia satyrus and P. faunus.  Now that we’ve all mastered those two, here’s  P. oreas!   


Oreas Comma Polygonia oreas (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Mike Yip


   The California Tortoiseshell is a little easier:


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Mike Yip


April 15

2021 April 15


    Here’s a photograph by Kirsten Mills of the Satyr Comma seen by Jeff Gaskin and Kirsten Mills on April 13 at Francis/King Park, mentioned in yesterday’s posting.


Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Kirsten Mills

   And here’s a Green Comma, photographed by Gordon Hart in the Highlands on April 14.  So now we know the difference!


Green Comma Polygonia faunus (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Gordon Hart

   Gordon also photographed this moth on the walls of his greenhouse:


Melanolophia imitata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Gordon Hart

   Jochen Möhr had one of the same species in Metchosin:


Melanolophia imitata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

as well as a few other moths:


Sabulodes aegrotata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

Hypena decorata (Lep.: Erebidae – Hypeninae)  Jochen Möhr

Probably Venusia pearsalli/obsoleta (Lep.: Geometridae) Jochen Möhr

   Jochen’s Venusia was a little worse for wear – and even with a fresh pearsalli/obsoleta we can’t tell the difference between the two species (if indeed there is a difference!)   Kalene Lillico came across a much fresher one at Swan Lake Nature House:

 Venusia pearsalli/obsoleta (Lep.: Geometridae)  Kalene Lillico

   Please note, writes Jeremy Tatum, that I had originally labelled this photograph incorrectly as V. cambrica, as  I also did with another individual on April 4,  See April 4 for some comments on the identification of the Venusias.  I am very grateful to Libby Avis for pointing out the mistake.

Rosemary Jorna photographed a lady beetle Harmonia axyridis in the Kemp Lake area today, April 15.

This Asian introduced species is very variable, but it can usually be recognized by the black M or W on its pronotum.   It has been given so many English names that I (Jeremy Tatum) usually call it the Many-named Lady Beetle.

Harmomia axyridis (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Rosemary Jorna

Harmomia axyridis (Col.: Coccinellidae)  Rosemary Jorna

  Rosemary also photographed this Crane Fly – another introduced species, this one from Europe.   This insect is usually called a Daddy-long-legs in Britain – a name we usually use for a harvestman.


Female Tipula paludosa (Dip.: Tipulidae)  Rosemary Jorna


Gordon Hart photographed these two Bee Flies in the Highlands.  Jeremy Gatten writes:  I would call both of those Bombylius major. They are a little variable in their appearance, but it’s the only species I have found locally with the exception of some small, entirely blonde-haired ones that are probably in the genus Systoechus.


Bee Fly Bombylius major (Dip.: Bombyliidae)  Gordon Hart

Bee Fly Bombylius major (Dip.: Bombyliidae)  Gordon Hart

   Marie O’Shaughnessy shows the underside of one of the two California Tortoiseshells that have been on the Mount Tolmie reservoir for the last few days.

California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy




April 14 morning

2021 April 14


   Jeremy Tatum writes that the two California Tortoiseshells that have been reported in recent days were still on the Mount Tolmie reservoir at 5:30 pm, Tuesday April 13.


    Jeff Gaskin writes:  Kirsten Mills and I saw some butterflies yesterday afternoon, such as a Mourning Cloak and two Sara Orangetips at Burnside Road West at Prospect Lake Road.   Another Sara Orangetip was at Burnside Road West  and Grange Road.  A Satyr Comma was at the parking lot at Thomas Francis/Freeman King Park, and a photograph was taken.  We also had a comma which looked rather dark and orange so we weren’t sure on the identification.  Also, numerous Cabbage Whites were seen.



April 13

2021 April 13


   Jeff Gaskin writes:  April 12, on Mount Tolmie there were two California Tortoiseshells on the concrete reservoir and one Sara Orangetip  just below the reservoir.  One of the tortoiseshells was photographed by Marie O’Shaughnessy.


California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Marie O’Shaughnessy

    Rosemary Jorna writes from Kemp Lake today: This little moth was among our daffodils at noon.

Jeremy Tatum writes:   If anyone sees this moth ovipositing, please save eggs for me, or let me know what plants it was ovipositing on.  I have been trying to find the eggs or a caterpillar for years, without success.  It is Epirrhoe plebeculata.  Many of its congeners feed on Galium, but I think this one probably feeds on something entirely different.


Epirrhoe plebeculata (Lep.: Geometridae)   Rosemary Jorna

   Rosemary writes:  This micro snail was on a Big-leaf Maple just off the Anderson Cove Parking lot in East Sooke Park yesterday It is the first micro snail I have spotted outside of our own Maples  so I had to share.  Nearctula sp.

Nearctula sp.   (Pul.: Vertiginidae)  Rosemary Jorna

   Jochen Möhr writes from Metchosin today: While I still have no moths at the screen lit with an LED light at night, I did at least see some butterflies/moths: Five whites, presumably Cabbage Whites in various parts of Metchosin, one Mourning Cloak on Rocky Point Road, and numerous white flutterings, presumably geometrids.  [Jeremy Tatum writes:  “Numerous white flutterings, presumably geometrids” – I think that is good enough field notes to describe Mesoleuca gratulata!]