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This is a recently discovered species. Though currently undescribed, it is known and a name & description will be given in the upcoming revision of Adela
by Davis & Medeiros...due out in the near future.
There appeared to be up to 7 or so at a time fluttering within and slightly above the open stems of a large creosote bush (Larrea tridentata
) engulfed below with profusely flowering Phacelia distans
. It was late in the morning on a calm, sunny, and warm day, and I observed them for over half an hour. I’d guess there were about 15-20 distinct individuals in that large creosote “clump”...perhaps more...though I only saw 3 actually stop flying and land: one on an inflorescence of unopened Phacelia distans
buds; one on a creosote twig; and one on flowers of the native mustard Caulanthus lasiophyllus
growing with the Phacelia distans
within the large creosote bush. Only the one on the Caulanthus
lingered long enough for me to get unposed in situ photos:
I finally netted one, chilled it for 10 minutes, and was able to get the final four photos in this series. When I released it I put it on a Phacelia distans
flower and it lingered long enough for me to get the first two photos seen here. However I didn’t see any of these Adela
land and linger on any open Phacelia
flowers on their own (just on that inflorescence of unopened buds).
Wandering around the vicinity I saw many more groups of these Adela
fluttering within the open stems of other large creosote bushes engulfed in flowering Phacelia distans
...but, again, none of them were seen to land. Based on these observations I'm speculating I was seeing males performing a type of lekking behavior...but I don't know if that's correct.
I thank Chris Grinter & David Bettman, and also Dave Wagner, for their assistance here.