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"...mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit. Splendor awaits in minute proportions.”
E.O. Wilson (Biophilia)
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DISCLAIMERI am a photographer, not an entomologist. I do my best to have professionals assist in identifying the subjects of my photographs. However, positive identifications can not always be done unless the specimen is dead and viewed under a microscope. If you do find an error, or have doubts about the identification provided, please let me know in the comments or by email.
Tag Archives: Odonata
This was a good year for meadowhawks in our garden. However they seem to be difficult to identify without a hands-on approach, so this goes down only as Symptetrum sp., a skimmer. (Family Libellulidae)
Do I note a sense of wariness in the aphid beneath?
(Photo from early September, 2011)
The spotted spreadwing (Lestes congener Hagen 1861) is common in our garden, a late season damselfly that occurs throughout North America, although more common in southern Canada and the United States. It breeds on ponds, sloughs, marshes and slow-moving streams, where the female, in tandem with the male, lays eggs in plant stems above the water level. The eggs are unique amoung the spreadwings in that they begin to partially develop (called ‘katatrepsis’, a re-orientation of the embryo¹) before entering diapause for the winter. This allows the egg to survive colder temperatures than other species, down to -33°C (-27°F).
L. congener are also more salt tolerant than other spreadwings, giving the larvae a better chance to survive in waters where evaporation raises salinity levels. The larvae will actually develop faster as salt levels increase, giving them a better chance of emerging before the pond completely dries up.
(ID and information from John Acorn’s Damselflies of Alberta, with ID confirmation by John Acorn himself)
¹ Species page, Entomology Collection, University of Alberta.