Boreus californicus Packard, 1870
Diagnosis: Body shiny black, sometimes legs and wings paler yellow. Ratio of length of maxilla-labial complex to rostrum is 0.70 to 0.90. Pro-, meso-, and metanota without prominent spines. Male forewings abruptly narrowed at mid-length with 15 – 23 mesal spines and 7-13 lateral spines. Hindwings usually without spines. Female forewings oval, without apical spines, covering hindwings. Legs with apical femoral spine. Male 8th tergum and sternum fused; 9th tergum and sternum not fused. Male 9th tergum with hood about 2/3 width of tergum that bears a medial ridge. Apex of male 9th sternum evenly rounded.
Distribution – Geographical: This species has been collected from just south of Flagstaff, Arizona, and the Yosemite Valley of California north through the western mountains of North America to British Columbia and Alberta.
Distribution – Temporal: Adults have been collected from 4 November until 26 April at elevations from 4,000 to 10,300 feet (1220 to 3142 m).
Ecology: In the Donner Pass and Hobart Mills areas of the central Sierra Nevada of California this species is commonly found on Grimmia mosses of granitic boulders. It is seldom seen on the surface of snow far from these boulders. In the central Sierra it has not been collected below 4,500 feet elevation.
Biology: Larvae have been collected amongst the rhizoids of Grimmia mosses on boulders.
Notes: There is considerable variation in coloration in this species, perhaps due to its broad distribution. However, no consistent pattern could be found for any one region. Some males from Alberta have very small spines on the hindwings.
This species is part of the californicus species group in which males have a large hood on the 9th tergum that has a medial, longitudinal ridge. This species is most similar to the more eastern B. coloradensis, which lacks the apical femoral spine. This spine is small, hard to see, and at times can be lacking in B. californicus. Boreus coloradensis may only be a series of populations of B. californicus found primarily in the Rocky Mountains.
Packard, A.S. 1870 . New or rare American Neuroptera, Thysanura and Myriopoda. Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, 13:405-409.