Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jr. Naturalists Study Dragonflies

Summer is here, bring on the Odonates! You may not be enjoying this hot weather, but I guarantee the damsel and dragonflies don't mind it much. They are enjoying the high-life feeding on insects, fighting with competitors and breeding in the local streams and ponds.

The Ebony Jewelwing is one of Ohio's most common damselflies, sporting an irridescent blue/green body propelled by blackened wings. Truly jewel-like as they flit among the sedges shrubs along woodland paths, they are some of the most easily identified of the damsels.

When the Ohio Bird Sanctuary's Jr. Naturalist (J. Nats) decided to learn more about these charismatic wetland insects, they went straight to the top!

Judy Semroc (second from left) from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History came down to teach a class and spend some time in the field with Jan Ferrell and her crew. What a jump start on the world of Odonata!

Larry Rosche pointed out an Eastern Forktail hiding in the grasses along the trail. Larry and Judy are two of the most experienced dragonfliers to be found, and are the principle authors of the fabulous Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeastern Ohio. It is considered the best guide for learning about and identifying the transparent-winged ones in all of Ohio.

Go here to order your copy from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It is filled with life histories, photos, and line drawings to help you sort the species we generally see. Although it is specifically made for NE Ohio, it works well for the rest of the state as well.

Tule Bluet, Enallagma carunculatum-

Our big find of the day. Larry and Judy netted several of these unusual species, and we proceeded to photo document them, as they have not been recorded in our county.

It may be hard to get too excited when the damsels are so small and look so much alike. So start slow; learn those stand-outs, like the Ebony Jewelwings and the big flashy dragonflies. You can learn a few new species each year, and in no time you will be amazing your friends! Besides it gives you something to do in the hot weather!

Congratulations J. Nats for a very successful day!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful damselflies. The Tule one looks like it's inlaid turquoise and obsidian.