Friday, June 14, 2013

Taiga Bluet

My second Odonate of the year is a new one for me—a Taiga Bluet. On Monday, 8 June 2013, Erika and I found Scott King in the Carleton College Lower Arboretum. Nothing like having a local dragonfly expert in place and ready to point out damselflies! Scott found this species a few minutes before we arrived and offered to show it to us. We wondered if it had stayed put, but Scott assured us that one of this species's traits is the habit of remaining relatively still. Scott informed us that he has seen very few Taiga Bluets in Rice County. This individual was on aphid-invested undergrowth and Poison Ivy along the Cannon River.

Taiga Bluet field marks include the three relatively dark abdominal segments in front of the terminal blue tip, a U-shaped black mark in the blue on the anterior end of the abdomen, and blue sides the become greenish on the sides bottom of the thorax. This greenish color is hard to see on my photograph, but is visible below the eye and the base of the legs.

Taiga Bluets range across Canada south to Iowa, and Wisconsin in our area, Pennsylvania in the east, and through the Rocky Mountains to California, Utah, and Colorado in the west. The species is found north to the Arctic Ocean. This species’s heartiness is reflected in its scientific name, Coenagrion resolutum. The larvae are able to over-winter even in its hostile environment. The larvae are often embedded in ice, yet they do not freeze (Dubois). Their tissues must contain a natural antifreeze (a phenomenon known in other cold-water animals).

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