Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lament for a lost Spring

A pair of difficult genera
Winter descended on Edmonton again last week and is still sticking around. I admit Spring was mostly illusion, but nice while it lasted. The jackrabbits, spring bulbs, trees, and bugs weren't fooled, but I gladly deluded myself. Well, no winter bugs this week, so time to reminisce. Here's a pair of tough bugs. Well, clearly a butterfly and a damselfly, and clearly the butterfly is a Crescent and I think the battered old female from last August is a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos (Drury, 1773)). But as noted before, telling a Pearl from a Northern Crescent is no easy job, and in fact they may be the same species.
Putative Northern Bluet eating midge
The damselfly is a male and a Bluet and probably a Northern Bluet Enallagma cyathicerum (Charpentier, 1840). Unfortunately, colour patterns of Boreal and Northern Bluets are very similar including the large blue post ocular spots. Both occur in ponds and lakes in central Alberta and fly from spring into August. Only a good view of the male claspers can differentiate them with certainty.
Male and female Northern or Boreal Bluets

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