Saturday, May 19, 2012

Aurora Damsel

I went back out to Embury Road today to see what has emerged since I was there 2 weeks ago. Lots of baskettails were in the air, and most of them seemed to be Epitheca cynosura. However, a few that I caught have the look of E. costalis. I guess I'll know after I can take a more measured look at them. There were also plenty of Boreal bluets, Enallagma boreale. Whereas two weeks ago they were mostly tenerals, today all I saw were sexually mature individuals, and quite a few were in tandem.

One of my favorite bluets is the Aurora Damsel, Chromagrion conditum. It's a very handsome damselfly with yellow and blue on the side of the thorax. They are more common as you go northward, but the wetlands along Embury Road have that nice mix of tamarack bog and grassy swales with some slight current that these damsels seem to like. The top of the thorax is not striped, but has a wavy-bordered black area, and there are no post-ocular spots on the head. I rarely see many of these at once, but do recall them being quite abundant when I studied the odes in the Huron Mountains in Marquette Co. Northwest Washtenaw Co. and probably parts of Waterloo Recreation Area in Jackson Co. have good habitat for this colorful damsel.

Another especially noteworthy catch today was a female Cordulegaster maculata, the Twin-spotted Spiketail. I did not expect to net one flying down the middle of Embury Road. There are some nice little streams fed by these swamps, and I suspect that she was on her way to the one near the road. I also saw a couple of Spatterdock darners, Rhionaeschna mutata, but they were out of reach. I managed to net an Amber-winged spreadwing - Lestes eurinus. All of the ones I saw were in the woods, and they had obviously emerged in the last 24 hours or so.

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