Friday, July 19, 2013

Lyre-tipped Spreadwing

On 90-degree and humid Tuesday, I ventured down to the River Bend Nature Center near Faribault and photographed this Lyre-tipped Spreadwing. The spreadwings are often difficult to tell apart. The Lyre-tipped has S-shaped paraprocts, little lyre-shapped spikes which I think you can barely make out in the two lower photos. These structures lie under the cerci on each side of the top of the tail. (Lyres are the little harp-like instruments angels play on the streets of heaven.) Note the two red spheres on the “belly” of this spreadwing. These objects are parasitic larval water mites, about which I have previously posted.

Lyre-tipped Spreadwings range across much of southern Canada and the northern United States. They lay eggs in emergent vegetation up to two feet above the water. The eggs can withstand temperatures of −4 degrees F. In colder weather, snow cover protects the eggs.The larvae hatch in the spring when the water reaches 50 degrees. For the next two months, The larvae go through several stages before emerging as adults (DuBois).

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