Monday, February 28, 2005

Spring Thoughts

As I look out my window -- it's sunny, snowy, and about 20 degrees F. February is about over. We have had a continually cold winter with few breaks, and I am hoping that spring will arrive soon. This has been an atypical winter for us --
lots of snow, and no really big thaws -- just enough to melt a lot of snow cover in a couple of days, mostly because of rain, not sun. Then more snow and plunging temperatures.

If you remember the major flooding we had last spring and the rain early in the season, you'll recall that it was not the greatest year for Odonata collecting in Michigan. I am hoping that this year will see a return to normal conditions, whatever they are.

Speaking of 2004, I have had a student entering last year's collection data, and we are nearly done with that -- a good thing. It would be nice to get last year's data online before 2005 really begins. I have also been busy updating the MOS web site. I now need to fix up the old maps, and it will be updated. I have a student, Susan Fawcett, who is a very good artist, and she has been drawing Odonata larvae so that I can update our key on the web, and to include the illustrations in whatever publications that follow. She's good and has been cranking them out. I'll post some of them here when I get the chance.

Think Spring...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Must Have Book for 2005

A Must have book for 2005 is the Damselflies of the Northeast by
Ed Lam. - A guide to the species of eastern Canada and the northeastern
United States. It is also applicable to Michigan and much of the Great
lakes region. Published by Biodiversity Books, this is a masterpiece
- I would say that it is the best guide I have seen for our continent
on this group of Odonata. Wondrous color illustrations, clear and
concise text, maps, and perhaps the best rendering I have seen of
damselflies by any artist. Ed Lam wrote and illustrated this book, and
I think that anyone interested in damsels should get out their
checkbook and order up a copy. At 20 bucks, you'll want to buy at
least a couple of copies. You can find more information at his site:

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Larvae -- Lots of them

In December, my friend Dave Cuthrell from Michigan Natural Features Inventory brought us an early holiday gift -- about 500 vials of larvae and exuviae from surveys the MNFI did in 1997. That was about the time the MOS was just getting going. Bill Smith from Wisconsin identified most of them in 1999. I have been transferring the specimens from the huge vials from MNFI into our smaller vials, when appropriate, as well as sorting out the specimens in the vials - in over 2/3 of them, there are two or three taxa - identified, but of course, only I (at the moment) can separate them out and put them in their own vials. We have also been cataloguing the specimens into the Odolarva database. I estimate that amounts to several thousand larvae and exuviae total. There are some great species additions amongst all that - Ophiogomphus howei, for instance, as well as many additional records of several species of Stylurus from various parts of the state. When we have completed these additions, I will repost the amended larval database online.

Here are just a few of the little buggers...

The truth

Mark has always had a secret desire for me to get a leg up on him! -- Nannothemis

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

It's February and its snowing, so what?

After I saw my friend Julie's Urban Dragon Hunter Blog, I figured that no way was she going get a leg up on me! So, I blame her for this.

The Michigan Odonata Survey, of which I have played a big part organizing over the past 9 years, has accumulated a tremendous amount of data, and it is here that I hope to offer some notes on these amazing insects. Hence the name Michigan Odonotes. I will share some pics, some vignettes of what we do, and tips, as well.

You can reach the Michigan Odonata Survey's Web Pages at

Stay warm, and in a few months...we can emerge from our larval abodes and take flight.