Sunday, May 19, 2019

Western Forktail

While searching for female Pacific Forktails (see yesterday’s post) in the barrow pit near our Olympia home, I photographed a male Western Forktail. The Western differs in having broader black thoracic stripes. This small species is fairly common across much of western North America. Males are less often encountered than are females. Sometimes at ponds no males are observed. Females only need to be fertilized once in their lives, and can store the males’ sperm for future use (Paulson 2009). If you look closely, you might see that the underside of this forktail’s abdomen is full of tiny, red, water-mite larvae.

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