Winter in Summerland: rare insect #2

scorpionfly1

This post is long overdue, but back in January I encountered several snow scorpionflies while hiking in the snow in Summerland. Snow scorpionflies belong to the family Boreidae, within the order Mecoptera (scorpionflies), although they may be more closely related to fleas than other mecopterans. They are unique in that they are flightless and seem to thrive in cold climates. Despite being flightless, they move quite quick by jumping, and are apparently called snow fleas.

I’ve never seen these in the Vancouver area, despite looking for them several times. They were fairly ubiquitous around the afternoon when hiking in the snow, although they are once again hard to find now that the snow has melted. I’ve read that they hide in moss and loose soil in warmer times of the year.

Fun fact: the official mascot of the Entomological Society of B.C. is Boreus elegans, a species of snow scorpionfly (http://entsocbc.ca/about/boreus-elegans/).

Links:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/12104

http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/bclepetal/order%20lepidoptera%20et%20al%20text%20files/order_mecoptera.htm

http://ibis.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/efauna/MecopteraScorpionfliesandtheirrelativesofBritishColumbia.html

scorpionfly2

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