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

By John Acorn

With iridescent blues and vegetables, damselflies are essentially the most appealing flying bugs in addition to the main primitive. As participants of the insect order Odonata they're with regards to 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 type, the author's enthusiasm for those flying neon toothpicks is compelling. greater than a box advisor, it is a passionate research into one in all nature's winged marvels of the wetlands.

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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. Some people use 20X lenses, or 5X lenses for this purpose, but I find 10X to be about right. In a pinch, you can also use one-half of your binoculars held backwards for in-the-hand identifications as well.

We humans have also created an odd sort of artificial spring-like environment as well—the warm water discharge from power plants. Just as manatees spend winters at power plants in Florida, the few power plants that have been examined in Alberta have produced interesting damselfly records as well. In particular, the three coal-fired plants on Wabamun Lake support an extremely interesting population of the plains forktail. The Sheerness Power Plant south of Hannah has produced a wetland that is also worth monitoring for new and interesting records.

We were also fortunate to have the great help of the late Norman Church who had expertise in diapause, having worked on wheatstem sawfly. Bill prepared a very good thesis, which was examined by Phil Corbet, then at Waterloo University, I believe…Unfortunately, the work was not carried on, in part, I think, because of its seasonal nature and also because as other students came along, I found myself focusing more on the insect endocrine system, and its role in growth and reproduction. ) strain developed at the Agriculture Canada Research Station.

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