Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sizzling Hot Skillet...Clubtail.

Yesterday was about as hot a day as we have had so far this year -- around 93°F, humid, and very hot sun. I stopped out at Hudson Mills Metropark, which the Huron River flows through. There are some very nice riffle areas in that stretch of the river, with boulders along the edges, and slough areas with lots of pickerel weed and other emergent vegetation. There were lots of Argia moesta, Calopteryx maculata, Enallagma exsulans, Argia tibialis, and a few Hetaerina americana flying and perching. A single Anax junius was flying along the slow area of the river. Some gomphids were flying, but they were on the far side of the river (Murphy's Law #42 - Any interesting odes will always be on the other side of the river). I took a path to get closer to the water and spied a gomphid perched in the shade of a shrub. I approached slowly and swung my net -- and caught a male Gomphus ventricosus - the skillet clubtail.

It seemed that the day was too hot for even this skillet clubtail to be out and flying. Skillet clubtails are widespread in Michigan, based upon the map of our county records up through 2011. However, there are only 95 specimen records, most of which are from Douglas Lake, MI in Cheboygan Co. Most of the records from the Upper Peninsula are larvae and exuviae that were collected within the last 10 years. I suspect that like many species in Michigan, the records reflect a minimum extent of distribution. There are lots of good rivers that ought to support this small, but impressive clubtail.

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