Damselflies of Alberta: flying neon toothpicks in the grass by John Acorn

By John Acorn

With iridescent blues and vegetables, damselflies are the most appealing flying bugs in addition to the main primitive. As participants of the insect order Odonata they're regarding dragonflies yet are labeled in a separate suborder. those aquatic bugs are a satisfaction to the attention and a desirable creature of research. In Damselflies of Alberta, naturalist John Acorn describes the twenty-two species local to the province. Exhaustively researched, but written in an available sort, the author's enthusiasm for those flying neon toothpicks is compelling. greater than a box consultant, this can be a passionate research into considered one of nature's winged marvels of the wetlands.

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Extra resources for Damselflies of Alberta: flying neon toothpicks in the grass

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Without entirely abandoning the notion that damselflies and mosquitoes are mortal enemies, I have to confess that I’ve never seen any scientific evidence supporting the notion that odonates of any sort are a major factor in natural mosquito control here in Canada. I am therefore skeptical that there are things we might accidentally do to kill off the odes and let the mosquitoes run wild. On the other hand, some tropical odonates do seem to play an important role in mosquito control, as one might predict.

Some ponds are permanent; others are temporary, or seasonal. Here in Alberta we don’t hear much about vernal ponds (vernal means “spring” and refers to the fact that they fill with meltwater from winter snows), but the importance of these habitats is becoming more and more apparent in other parts of the country, and the continent. Certainly, these are the sorts of habitats that the spreadwings prefer, and the fact that they lay their eggs in dry vegetation, with faith that the ponds will fill with water in the spring, is evidence that these damselflies are adapted to temporary ponds as well.

Their wings in particular have a tendency to stick together and become twisted. Once you have seen one of these “teneral” damselflies, it will be easy for you to recognize them at a distance. 35 Hand lenses come in a variety of sorts. I prefer a 10-power (10X lens of the “triplet” sort), which I carry on a strap around my neck. When I catch a damselfly, I first hold the lens to my eye and then bring the bug in close enough to be in focus, making sure that the sun illuminates whatever I am looking at.

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