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 (tatumjb352@gmail.com). 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.

2024 March 17

2024 March 17

   These sunny days are bringing out lots of nymphalid butterflies.  On March 17, Aziza Cooper reported a Satyr Comma and two Mourning Cloaks at Swan Lake, and Kirsten Mills reported three Mourning Cloaks and three California Tortoiseshells at the Mount Tolmie reservoir, one of each also seen by Val George.   We also hear of a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell seen by Geoffrey Newell along the cliff at Clover Point on March 16.  Here’s a selection of photographs of some of these butterflies.

 

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Kirsten Mills

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Aziza Cooper

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Aziza Cooper

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper

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

Yesterday, March 16, Jochen Möhr photographed these two moths at his Metchosin house:

 

Probably Orthosia praeses  (Lep.: Noctuidae)  Jochen Möhr

Eupithecia ravocostaliata (Lep.: Geometridae)  Jochen Möhr

 

 

 

 

 

2024 March 16

2024 March 16

More butterflies.

   Gordon Hart saw a Mourning Cloak at his Highlands demesne on March 14.   Kirsten Mills saw two more Mourning Cloaks during a walk around Swan Lake today, March 16.   Jeremy Tatum saw a California Tortoiseshell on the Mount Tolmie reservoir at 5:00 pm today.  Jeff Gaskin saw no fewer than five Satyr Commas in Duncan today. They were along the Beverly Street / Lakes Road trail from Somenos Marsh to the sewage lagoons.

2014 March 15

2024 March 15

More Mourning Cloaks.  At 2:30 pm, March 14,  Marie O’Shaughnessy saw – and photographed – her first butterfly of the year near the Swan Lake Nature House.

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Marie O’Shaughnessy

   And at 1:00 pm to day, March 15,  Marie saw and photographed another one, in Uplands Park:

 

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)   Marie O’Shaughnessy

 

Aziza Cooper saw two Satyr Commas  at the western end of Ross Bay cemetary – her first butterflies of the yearat the western end of Ross Bay Cemetery.  She photographed one:

 

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus  (Lep.: Nymphalidae)  Aziza Cooper

2024 March 13

2024 March 13

    Butterfly Alert!  Jules Thomson saw a Mourning Cloak, on Jasmine at 1251 Pearce Crescent, today, March 13, at 12:34 pm.

This is only the second butterfly reported to Invertebrate Alert this year.  The first, also a Mourning Cloak, was on February 13 (February 14 Invert Alert).

2024 March 11

2024 March 11

   Kirsten Mills sends a picture of a Banded Woolly Bear caterpillar from Swan Lake, March 9.  We are accustomed to seeing many of these in October, after which they hide away somewhere over the winter.  Overwintering caterpillars are not at all easy to rear.  Occasionally Banded Woolly Bears are to be found early in spring, after they have woken up from wherever they have spent the winter.  When they are found in spring, they have usually finished feeding, and are looking for somewhere to spin a cocoon and pupate.  They are then easy to rear to adulthood.  The adult moths are called Isabella Tiger Moths.

 

Banded Woolly Bear  Pyrrharctia isabella  (Lep.: Erebidae – Arctiinae)  Kirsten Mills

 

Kirsten also found at Swan Lake this early European Paper Wasp:

 European Paper Wasp  Polistes dominula  (Hym.: Vespidae)  Kirsten Mills