The Point

Today was a beautiful sunny day in Elk Island National Park, and the BIObus crew was busy pinning the contents of a bucket trap. There are only two micro-pinning trays, so I was able to take a break and sit in the sun on the dock of Lake Astotin. The staff at Elk Island were kind enough to offer us access to a cottage at The Point, an area were several other park staff live. Here we could relax in the company of some fellow outdoor lovers, as well as enjoy the beautiful view of the lake and collect its dwellers. The murky water beside the dock was teeming with arthropods of all different orders, including dozens of jewel-blue damselflies, and a giant orb-weaving spider with a mouth full of leech. Many of the damselflies were paired up in copulation, a bizarre looking posture where the male deposits sperm from an organ on the tip of his abdomen to the underside of the base of his abdomen, and the female gathers it with her abdomen tip. The male grasps her by the back of the neck with his abdomen tip, so that together they form a heart shape. I tried to interrupt a few pairs for collection, but was not fast enough to snatch them off of the cattails.  I guess they will live to repopulate The Point with many more colourful offspring.

Astotin Lake, The Point, at sunset