Sunday 28-July we had rain from about 14.20, rain that flattens everything and makes the downspouts look like broken fire hydrants and so it was with low expectations that I went along to St-Lazare sand pits looking to see what the damage was. I had it in mind to go through the wet sedges and net some of the spreadwings there, I’m still looking for Elegant Spreadwing Lestes inaequalis (Leste intégal) for the site and I’d dearly like to photograph one. My route was the same one walked 24-July although that day was cooler with a strong wind. Today it warm and sunny but the gathering clouds predicted more rain to come.
Progress was slow as I netted every bluet looking to photograph a Marsh Bluet Enallagma ebrium (Agrion enivré) in the hand. Most were Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Agrion des scirpes), seemingly the default large bluet on the site but I also caught a Familiar Bluet Enallagma civile (Agrion civil). After starting along the causeway I’d gone 40m when I flushed a large pale ode and my mind starting wondering what pale looking odes it could be. I tracked the insect down as it rested on a stalk and saw straight away that it was a Variegated Meadowhawk Sympetrum corruptum (Sympétrum bagarreur), something I’d seen many of on trips to Arizona and Nevada. I knew that Variegated was rare in QC but only from the dated information in Les Odonates du Québec by Pilon and Legacé.
To say that this was not an expected addition to the pits ode list (#78) is an understatement but there it was. Having only previously used the net on bluets and spreadwings, I decided to have a go at the Variegated as I had photographs and it quickly found itself staring back at me through the net! Photographed and admired I let it go and walked on, flushing a further five Variegated Meadowhawks from the next 70m. I managed to photograph a second individual and then continued after the spreadwings until the weather turned.
Once home, I checked the on-line Ontario odonata atlas and found out just how rare Variegated Meadowhawk is in the area so why did I see at least six? It will be interesting to see whether we are having another influx of western species (if that is where they originated – more research pending) and whether more local sites get them. Comments welcome as always. If you want to try to see them let me know but please, no wholesale collecting at the site, in my opinion a photograph of such a distinctive species is voucher enough but Michel Savard has suggested that chemical anlysis of a collected individual would be of value, I have no idea how to successfully collect and so if anyone reading this would assist and the insects remain then one it is.
This information has been provided my Michel Savard, the sum total of records for Quebec to date.
- August, 18, 1957 at Breckenbridge (Ouataouais region), a specimen collected by S.M. Clark, found in the Canadian National Collection by Raymond Hutchinson in 1989.
- July, 01, 2012 at Boucherville, Parc de la Frayère (Montérégie region), a teneral male photographed on the shore of St. Lawrence by Pascale Berthe (Initiative pour un atlas des libellules du Québec) ; no other individuals seen thereafter
Below are some photographs, the one in the grass is a different individual from the captive..