Hello Ohio! *Sticky Post*

The Ohio Odonata Society is working with the Ohio Division of Wildlife to update the original survey that ran from 1991 – 2001. The new survey will run from 2017 through 2019 and culminate in a lay-person book on Ohio Dragonflies and Damselflies.

Goals for the second survey of Ohio dragonflies and damselflies include:

  • to identify every species known for each county.
  • to identify species introduced/established in Ohio since the original survey.
  • to determine changes in distribution and abundance, especially rare species

To participate, you can either photograph or collect specimens. No identification skills are required for photo observations and we accept observations from any date. Just take a photo and submit it to iNaturalist. Check out our Photo Collections and Physical Collections Protocols for more information.

If you are interested in meeting up with excited naturalists, check out our upcoming events post.


If you have any questions about the survey, contact:
MaLisa Spring (State Coordinatorspring.99@osu.edu),
Norm Johnson (Director of the Triplehorn Insect Collection – johnson.2@osu.edu),
Bob Glotzhober (Central Regional Coordinator – rglotz@twc.com),
Linda Gilbert (Northeastern Regional Coordinator –  lgilbert@geaugaparkdistrict.org),
Lynda Andrews (Southeastern Regional Coordinatorlandrews@fs.fed.us),
Shane Myers (Northwestern Regional Coordinator – srmyers429@gmail.com),
Jim Lemon (Southwestern Regional Coordinator – jlem@woh.rr.com)


Last, and perhaps most importantly, is our funding source. This project is largely supported through the Ohio Division of Wildlife as part of the Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership. We are deeply appreciative of their help to support this research so we can better understand Ohio’s biodiversity. If you like this program, consider donating to the Ohio Division of Wildlife or to the Triplehorn Insect Collection to contribute to preserving our biodiversity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This web-page will be updated throughout the project with more information, so be sure to check back often!  -MaLisa

If you would like to be added to the Ohio Dragonfly Survey email list to get semi-regular email updates, fill out the form below. 

Add me to ODS email list
Sending

Upcoming Events

February 23, 2019: Ohio Natural History Conference (Columbus, Ohio) This great conference is the perfect time to learn about current natural history work in Ohio. Registration is also typically cheap, so it is easy access to most.

March 17-20, 2019: North Central Branch Entomological Society of America meeting (Cincinnati, Ohio) Registration required. MaLisa will give a short presentation on the Survey, but there will be many other cool presentation related to current research on insects.

March 21, 2019: 7 :30 PM Ohio Citizens and Dragons: Documenting threatened species with iNaturalist (Ashland, Ohio). Join MaLisa Spring as part of the Environmental Lecture Series from Ashland University. All are welcome to attend and learn more about how they can participate. Anticipate fun facts about dragonflies and damselflies.

March 23, 2019: Museum Open House (Columbus, Ohio) Want to learn about the inner workings of the Museum of Biological Diversity? Join us on Saturday, March 23rd to tour the many collections and learn how they are used for research. It is a great event for kids and adults. FREE ATTENDANCE

March 23, 2019: Butterfly Identification and Monitoring Workshop (Youngstown, Ohio) Although not directly related to dragonflies, learning about butterflies and different monitoring schemes might be of interest to you. Plus, it gives you an additional excuse to get out in the field to look for cool insects. Registration is $15 (or $5 if you bring your own lunch). Free attendance for students. Registration is due by March 16th and registration is limited to 120 participants. More information and how to register are in this pdf. Ohio Lepidopterist Workshop 3.23.19

March 30, 2019: Ohio Outdoor and Wildlife Expo (Huron, Ohio). The Ohio Odonata Society will have a booth at this expo. There will be all sorts of cool outdoor related events and talks at this expo. FREE TO THE PUBLIC

April 4-6, 2019: Vernalpoolooza (Ashland, Ohio). Join the Ohio Wetlands Association to learn about all things vernal pool related. Talks on Amphibians, Macroinvertebrates, Hydrophytes, Photography, and so much more.

April 26, 2019: Documenting Dragons in Ohio: the Search Continues (Willoughby, Ohio). Join MaLisa Spring for a talk at the Burrough’s Nature Club of Willoughby, Ohio as part of their regular program. She will cover the basics of finding dragonflies and damselflies in Ohio followed by the latest news on our many threatened and endangered species of these aerial predators. Join us to learn how you can help by documenting species near you!

May 31st – June 2nd – The Ohio Dragonfly Conference (Rio Grande, Ohio). More information and registration on this page:  https://u.osu.edu/ohioodonatasurvey/2019-ohio-dragonfly-conference/

June 5, 2019: 7 PM East Central Ohio Forestry Association Monthly Meeting: Woodland Dragons (Dover, Ohio) Join MaLisa Spring for a 45 minute presentation on woodland dragonflies at the monthly meeting for the East Central Ohio Forestry Association. Meet at the Dover Public Library. The talk will cover the basics of dragonflies and damselflies with an emphasis on woodland species.

June 6, 2019: 7 PM Gardening for Dragons (Granville, Ohio) MaLisa Spring will cover how to support dragonflies near you and backyard management tips for dragonflies and other insects.  More details on location forthcoming.

June 12, 2019: 7 PM Gardening for Dragons and documenting backyard species (Columbus, Ohio) Join MaLisa Spring at the Serendipity Garden Club meeting, specific location to be updated closer to the meeting date. (The talk starts around 7:30, but the meeting starts beforehand)

June 15, 2019: Dragonfly Day for kids (and kids at heart) (Bellefontaine, Ohio). Join Jim Lemon at Myeerah Nature Preserve for a short presentation followed by fun activities! Learn why dragonflies are important for wetlands, how to safely handle dragons, and much more. Try your hand at using dip nets to find nymphs or practice with your camera to document species for the survey.

July 12-14, 2019: Mothapalooza (Portsmouth, Ohio). This event is focused on moths, but dragons are sure to be found.

July 19-20, 2019: Coyote Run Bioblitz (Pickerington, Ohio) Join naturalists of all stripes as we try to document as many species as possible on the Coyote Run Farm. Make sure to sign up if you want to attend the bioblitz. Registration found here: https://www.ohwetlands.org/bioblitz-2019.html

July 26-27, 2019: Midwest Native Plant Conference (Dayton, Ohio) MaLisa will give a guided walk on Friday of the conference in addition to a presentation on Dragonflies. Space is limited at this conference.

 

Want your nature event shared here? Send an email to MaLisa Spring (spring.99@osu.edu)

Wanted: Dragonfly wings

To the Ohio Birding Community:
Have you watched a bird eat a dragonfly and then seen them drop the wings on the ground? These wings are valuable scientific material and can help document species (even without the rest of the body). The Ohio Dragonfly Survey is looking for dragonfly wings to add to our knowledge of our 170 species across Ohio.

These wings are from a Common Green Darner (Anax junius). The main veins and overall shape help differentiate it from other dragonflies.

If you do decide to collect dragonfly wings from bird prey piles, make sure of the following:
 1) you do not disturb the birds in the area (walk back later if they are hanging around),
2) you have permission to take physical material from your location,
3) you write down the collection information. Typical collection information includes date collected, location collected, your name, and other notes (such as eaten by x species). More information on collecting specimens can be found on our physical collections protocol page.

Physical specimens or wings can be mailed MaLisa Spring at the following address
ATTN: MaLisa Spring
Museum of Biological Diversity
1315 Kinnear Road
Columbus, Ohio 43212

Whole dragonflies and damselflies caught in spider webs or in grills of cars are also welcome to be submitted to the survey.

Many dragonflies end up as prey in spider webs. Most spiders cannot eat the entire dragonfly or the husk of the dragonfly is left over.

These are dragonflies that were found dead on a road in Minnesota. The group were foraging for prey and did not do well with the incoming traffic. These were collected by concerned Odonatatologists on a single night along a small stretch of road.

These dragons were unlucky enough to meet their end with the front of a car. Be sure to check your grill before each stop. You never know what you will find! Even locality data of “somewhere in Ohio” is better than no data.

Photos of live dragonflies and damselflies also very welcome and can be submitted to iNaturalist.org.
If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to us.

End of Season Update: 2018

Thanks to our many volunteers, we have surpassed 32,000 photo observations on iNaturalist! We owe a lot to our many volunteer photographers and identifiers. Without you, we would only just be getting started surveying Ohio. In comparison, the survey in the 1990’s only had about 30,000 records, including numbers extracted from older publications. In two years, were were able to double a decades worth of work!

For those reading this blog, but not getting the emails, photo and specimen observations are due December 1st of this year. Anything submitted after that might not make it onto next years maps, but we still want your observations regardless of submission date.

Cool records for the year:

Jim Lemon and I published a short note in Argia 30:3 about some weird oddities. A population of Jade Clubtails and Paiute Dancers were found in Ohio. We also had weird errant records of  one Scarlet Skimmer and Rambur’s Forktail found at aquatic plants distributors. Lots of other cool things were found this year, so I recommend reading the full article.

This Scarlet Skimmer is our first “non-native” dragon that originates from Asia. A large population is known in Florida, but not many have made it outside of the state so far.

Outreach Updates:

I have been trying to visit locations across the state, both to survey and spread the word so others know to submit observations. Thus, last year I made several outreach materials, which can be found on the resources page. These include things like wanted posters, silhouette ID guides for damselflies and dragonflies, and links to presentations from past years. Since the weather has cooled down, I have started on more outreach materials. The first of the series is below, but there will likely be more graphics changes to make them look more appealing, and hopefully get parks to post them up on boards.

 

 

Anyways, that is all for now. If you have any specific requests or questions, feel free to reach out to me at spring . 99 at osu.edu.

New Season, New Resources!

Hi Everyone,

After feedback from attendees of various presentations, I have created a silhouette identification guide for damselflies in Ohio. A dragonfly guide is forthcoming, but I figured I would start with the easier group first. The guide is mainly to differentiate families and give you a starting place of where to look for species groups. This guide and many others are also available on the Resources page of this website.

As always, best of luck and find some cool Odes!

 

Current Odes to watch:

Painted Skimmers; Blue Corporals; Baskettails; Swamp, Harlequin, and Springtime Darners; Carolina Saddlebags; Eastern Red Damsel; Aurora Damsel; Sedge and Sphagnum Sprite; and Rainbow Bluets

Aurora damsels did not get many reportings in 2017, but keep an eye out! They have a distinct back pattern with no thoracic stripes and no eye spots! A few people have seen them so far this year.

Spring is here! Time for spring training and materials!

We have official reports of both dragonflies and damselflies now that it has officially warmed up. With both Common Green Darners (Anax junius) and Eastern Forktails (Ischnura verticalis), we are well on our way to seeing some cool things!

There are lots of upcoming events happening. This Thursday (April 26) we are having a spring training for central Ohio residents. If you can’t make it, (or even if you can), I also recommend registering for Odo-Con-18 on June 22-24, which will be our largest Odonata themed event in the state. We hope everyone has fun at our events and learns something new. These events are also times to get supplies and meet with regional coordinators. We have identification resources, species lists, maps, and collection materials for those who request it in advance.

We have started our press release push, with articles in The Dispatch and Cleveland.com. If you know anyone at your local newspaper who might be interested in publishing an article on the survey, let us know. We have a statewide press release available on our resources page, but we can write articles directed towards specific regions. We also have a variety of information handouts including general survey background, a wanted poster, Swift Setwing Factsheet, and Hine’s Emerald Factsheet.

To get you started for the year, I wanted to point out several changes to our website. We have updated all county list pages that are broken down by geographic region. (Central, Northeastern, Northwestern, Southeastern, and Southwestern). You can view the list of known species by county, but also the species documented in neighboring counties that have yet to be found. This is a good way to target groups and rack up county records.

We also updated all species range maps with the help of thousands of observations submitted via iNaturalist last year. These species range maps are available in an annotated pdf that prints off well in grey-scale. For those curious, we also have flight distribution charts to help you learn when to look for species that are either early, mid, or late season fliers.

Finally, I have made a printable all Ohio Dragonfly Checklist (as pdf or Excel) and an All Ohio Damselfly Checklist (as pdf or Excel). These can be used in the field or at home to get excited about finding other species. Think you have found a threatened or endangered species? Let us know!


– We are up to 85 registered attendees for Odo-Con in June! If you haven’t registered, there is still time, but we are capped at 125 attendees.
– Interested in joining other natural projects? There is a new Ohio Tiger Beetle group on iNaturalist! There are several really cool species of these shiny, predatory beetles (and a few endangered ones) that you might encounter while looking for dragonflies and damselflies. The Ohio Bee Atlas is also looking for more observations of bees on flowers, so don’t be afraid to turn your cameras from dragons to beetles to bees and back again.
Let us know if you have any questions and happy searching!

Survey Updates!

As the weather warms up, we are getting in gear to prepare for the new Odonata season. I wanted to do a short note to highlight a few upcoming events and other thoughts.

April 7thMuseum Open House! Join us at the Museum of Biological Diversity to learn about all of life, not just Odonata.


 

April 26th – We are also hosting an evening training session for Central Ohio Odonata enthusiasts on April 26th! We would love to see you for this evening workshop! No registration required.


June 22-24 – Finally, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to sign up for Odo-Con-18! Pre-registration is required so we know how much food to order for the Saturday dinner.


For more events (and there are many), see our upcoming events page here:  https://u.osu.edu/ohioodonatasurvey/2017/12/21/upcoming-events/ 


Other updates:

  • Thank you again to all of the survey volunteers who contributed data last year. With your help, in one year we have acquired more data than the half decade of the first survey!
  • We have been going strong with outreach over the past few months. Linda Gilbert spoke bout Northeastern Odes at the Ohio Natural History Conference (ONHC) with 220 attendees. MaLisa Spring and Jim Lemon also presented a poster at ONHC. MaLisa also had the opportunity to speak at the Wildlife Diversity Conference to over 1,000 wildlife enthusiasts!
  • Various collection permits have been acquired. If you plan on collecting on behalf of the Ohio Dragonfly Survey, please get in touch with MaLisa at spring . 99 at osu . edu.
  • Our work at the Ohio EPA verifying larvae is not over. They have decades of larvae that we have not had a chance to look through, so we have several winters of potential identification left. So far, we have several new county records thanks to their regulatory work and many more to uncover as we sort through specimens they have not identified below genus. We really appreciate their cooperation and facilitation of looking through their expansive inventory. For a glimpse of what we are finding, check out the hashtag #OhioDragonfly on Twitter. 
  • Many more mini-blitzes, presentations, and other events are planned. If you would like to plan your own event, let us know and we can get materials to you.
  • The website is still being updated! County lists and species in surrounding counties are being added gradually. Right now, we are 3/5 of the way through getting the county lists up.  If you want a specific county that doesn’t have its own webpage (possibly SE and SW counties depending on when you are reading this), you can access them in the main excel file for the region. Each excel file is listed on the respective county region page beneath the coordinator description.

That is all for now. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out!

MaLisa Spring
State Coordinator

Species Flight Distribution charts (part 2)

Jim Lemon and I have been discussing the most effective and useful visuals to get people out and excited to look for dragonflies. Part of this discussion led to his guest post covering historical flight periods in Ohio. However, those were distribution charts combined for all species of dragonflies and damselflies. They gave you a general idea of the best time to find the most species, but not when x species might be flying.  Some of the animated gifs also show the changes in the early or late season flight periods, most likely dependent on weather for that year.

However, I wanted to see if we could have a standardized graph that shows quickly which groups tend to be early season versus late season fliers. Jim Lemon worked his coding magic and was able to create the below graphs for Ohio species. I eventually want to replicate these in R using Ridgeline plots in this new Data Visualization guide (fig 7.9), but I have not had time to experiment with these yet. Below is an additional guest post by Jim Lemon.

-MaLisa Spring

Seeing Relative Species Flight Distribution

We know that individual Odonates only fly for a limited time – typically a number of days to a couple weeks. A few species can be seen flying through most of the season, and so are emerging from their wetland habitat with some regularity. As we record observations, these species data can be counted and plotted against date – and compared to others.

Taking the data for specific groups – Damselflies (Zygoptera), Darners (Aeshnidae), and Skimmers (Libellulidae) – we can plot their flight frequency to see the differences.

Here you can see the average flight period of various damselflies.

If we group by genus and order by increasing numbers we can see the relative flights. Auroras, Sprites, and Red Damsels with relatively low numbers, and peaking early. Jewelwings also peaking relatively early, but in greater numbers. Rubyspots and Spreadwings coming on a little later. Forktails showing their season long records. Finally big numbers for our Bluets and Dancers.

We can also look at individual species of Bluets (Enallagma spp.) to see that there are several species that are mainly found in June (Boreal, Northern, Hagen’s, and Marsh) that are not documented later in the season. We would note that these taxa are also particularly challenging to identify and a good side profile shot of the terminal appendages is needed to differentiate them by photo.

In a similar treatment for the Darners, grouped by genus, we see some flight differences. Again, an early flight for Springtime, Cyrano, Spatterdock, and Swamp. Pretty much full season flight for the Green Darners. Then a late flight for the Spotted and Mosaics, with big numbers for the Mosaic Darners.

The family Libellulidae is a varied group, but we can at least make a flight distribution chart for most of the genera.

The Skimmers are our best represented group in terms of numbers. As a group, they are more consistent – with strong peaks in early-to-mid July. The exceptions on the early side are Whitefaces and Whitetails, on the late side with Meadowhawks and Gliders. If we take two species, Common Whitetail and Autumn Meadowhawk, and segment the data by an arbritrary time period (early years, mid years, recent years) we can get a different view.

Here, we see the early flight of the Common Whitetail and the late flight of the Autumn Meadowhawk. And while there is some variation from period to period, these flight patterns are consistent across years.

Guest post by Jim Lemon

Distribution charts made with data from the Ohio Odonata Society database current as of December 2017. Flight periods reference Ohio flight dates, so expect variation depending on your latitude.

Species Flight Distribution Charts

Guest Post by Jim Lemon

For our survey, it is important to know both where species are present, as well as when they occur. While some species are present through most of the Odonate season, many are limited to specific date periods. To this end, new species flight distribution charts have been created based on current Ohio Odonata Society data. We know these data are not complete, but we work with the information we are provided.

Compiled data from all years of the Ohio Odonata Society Database. Current as of December, 2017.

The Ohio Dragonfly flight period starts in early March and concludes in late November. For our charting, these months are divided into nearly even segments of 1st to the 10th; 11th to the 20th; 21st to month end. Note some months in our target range have 30 days, others 31.

This graph shows all compiled observations prior to 2017 and includes both observation abundances (as much as they are reported) and the number of different species reported on that date.

This graph shows all compiled observations prior to 2017 and includes the observation abundances (as much as they are reported).

This graph shows all compiled observations prior to 2017 and includes the number of different species reported on that date.

The number of recorded observations for each species in the defined periods has been tabulated and used to create the various charts. For any species, you can see the approximate range of flight as well as the periods when most commonly observed. The total number for each period is also displayed. Less common species may tend to have sparse data – but still useful.

This gif shows the change in observations by year. Some years we have many more observations (survey years). Other years you can see a change in flight period with species being observed earlier or later into the season.

This gif is a stacked bar graph which combines all observations to show the main flight period (or main observing period) of dragonflies for Ohio.

We are interested in all of your observations. Observations that document a new record of place or flight – either early or late – is of value in helping understand our Odonates.

-Jim Lemon

For part 2 of this guest post mini-series: click here.

 

So you want to get a county record

Fame, glory, being remembered forever on some sheet somewhere as the FIRST: that could be you, well perhaps minus the fame and glory. County records are observations that denote the first time something was found in X county. They are also a good excuse to get you out and about in a new location, a new date, or a new habitat searching to be the first. Some people enjoy the small bit of excitement of being the first at something, so if that sounds like you, then read on.

There are several ways to get a new county record. For dragonflies and damselflies, you would need to submit your data to the people compiling the yearly list of records. In our case, we accept physical specimens with proper collection information via regional coordinators. Photographic records are accepted via iNaturalist which allows incorporating location, date, and other information.

But how do I actually find county records to submit? I’m glad you asked!

There are several ways that you might encounter a new species for the county (or state).

  1. It is a really common species that we expect to be all over the state, but has not yet been reported from every county. These would be super easy county records, but might require some travel to the few remaining counties that it has not yet been reported.

    Double Striped Bluets are common across Ohio, but they haven’t been reported in two northwestern Ohio counties.

  2. Look in new habitats. Some species of dragonflies are only found in very specific habitats. Examples would be seeps, springs, bogs, or even those that have a preference to hang out in the middle of a slow moving stream yards from the bank. There are several stream species that have micro-habitat preferences where they might prefer riffles compared to runs or vise versa. If you know the taxa you want to try to get a county record, you can try to focus on that type of habitat. Alternatively, you can try to visit as many habitat and micro-habitat types to increase the overall number of species you might see.

    If you normally visit streams, then consider visiting forested ponds or vise versa. Some areas might have freshly emerged damselflies, as shown here.

  3. Know your associated species. There are also some species of dragonflies that are associated with specific plants. Rubyspots are known to lay their eggs in Water Willow, so expect to find them in locations with it growing. Another example is duckweed and the Duckeed Firetail: – duckweed is common in southern Ohio, but no one has found the Duckweed Firetail yet. If someone was to find it, they would have their hands on a State Record.

    If you find Water Willow along a stream bank, you are likely to find the American Rubyspot.

  4. Time of day is key. Most dragonflies and damselflies are out during the heat of the day in full sun. There are a few species that fly at dusk and perhaps into the night (Vesper Bluets, Orange Bluets, Shadowdragons,  among others) that you otherwise would not see when you are normally out looking for dragonflies. Perhaps consider a nighttime adventure?

    These Vesper Bluets came out just as the sun was setting during a fishing trip. We didn’t catch many fish, but we found plenty of dusk flying species of damselflies.

  5. Try searching for odes in different seasons. Some species only fly for a very short period, thus making them harder to find and report as a county record. If you want to see a Springtime Darner, you can bet you will not find it in August. There are many species of dragonflies that emerge in the spring and will not be found after late May.

 

Hopefully, the above list will give you somewhere to start and incentivize searching for new species to get a record to your name. Below I have added maps of several species that would fall under category 1 above. White counties are those where the species has yet to be reported. We expect them everywhere, so let’s see if we can cover the map for these species in 2018!

To see all of our current species maps, see the Species Distributions Across Ohio tab. Also check out the annotated PDF of 2017 maps!

 

 

 

One final thing to note is that we do vet all species records. Although I doubt this will be a problem, we strive for correct observations. If it seems that something is fishy about an observation, or copyright infringement, we have the ability to reject observations from being county records. iNaturalist has a decent way to detect and mark observations as copyright infringement, so please do not do that. We want county records and you to be incentivized to get them, but we do not want the ugly side that occasionally comes with competitive things. I just wanted to note here for those who might be swayed by temptation.