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

Upcoming Events

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. MaLisa will also be giving a 45 minute fun dragon talk. 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!

April 27, 2019: 12-4 PM Planet-Palooza (Reynoldsburg, Ohio). Celebrate Earth Day with this FREE family friendly event featuring many activities and environmental organizations! Go creeking, explore a vernal pool, take a tram ride, make crafts, play games or participate in many other activities. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to celebrate and explore our planet! Rajat Saksena will run a table for the Ohio Dragonfly Survey.

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. Free to the public!

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. Free to the public!

June 22, 2019: 1:30 PM Dragons at the Mound: Photographing Dragonflies (Granville, Ohio). Join MaLisa Spring at Infirmary Mound Park for a short 15 minute presentation at Shelter 3 to learn fun facts about dragonflies and how to photograph them. Then join us on an hour photography walk. Get up close and personal with dragons netted for research purposes. Bring your camera or cell phone and join us on this adventure! This will be both a photography methods and natural history walk, so feel free to ask as questions about getting “the shot” or for fun facts (ex: baby dragonflies breathe through their butts). Leashed dogs welcome per park rules. Free to the public!

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

July 13, 2019 (rain date July 16th): 8:00-1030 PM. Insect Night Walk (Wooster, Ohio). Join The Ohio State Entomology Department students, staff and volunteers at the Secrest Arboretum for a night filled with insect-themed activities including: The Bug Zoo, Cockroach Races, Maggot Art, Firefly Catching, Edible Insects, …and much more! At the end of the night take a guided walk through the arboretum to learn all about insect life after dark. Bring your flashlight, sneakers, and a bug jar (a plastic peanut butter jar works great). Not a dragonfly specific event, but still a fun one for kids to learn about insects. Free to the public!

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.

August 10, 2019: 1-4 PM River Jam Event (Sandusky County, Ohio) At Wolf Creek Park just south of Fremont. More information forthcoming.


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


For the data nerds, Jim Lemon has compiled the below information.

Ohio Dragonfly Survey 2018

Thanks again to all of the many volunteers who have contributed data via iNaturalist. We would not be able to do so much if it was not for you. 2018 was a record year in a lot of ways, with a record number of observations, species expansions, and new county records.


To put this in comparison, above is a bar chart showing all observations ever recorded in the Ohio Odonata Society database. The red line is just data from 2018! (Note the dip in observation numbers in mid-june, coincidentally the date MaLisa Spring, Jim Lemon, and Dave McShaffrey were in Minnesota for the Dragonfly Society of the Americas conference).

In two years, we have doubled our known observations. It took the Ohio Odonata Society a DECADE to compile both specimens and old records from publications and museums to reach around 30,000 records. In two years, we have gotten 35,000 observations on iNaturalist! So thank you very much to everyone who has helped us reach these numbers! We cannot say that enough.

Now onto the fun data.

County Data

Top Counties – The Counties with the highest number of  Observations in 2018

Montgomery    1574
Champaign       1042 <- Jim Lemon frequents here
Franklin            918  <- Columbus
Summit             733 <- Akron
Lucas                 562 <- Toledo
Greene              529
Hancock           505 <– Location of the 2018 Conference

Top Counties – Counties with the highest number of Species Reported in 2018

County # of Species Reported
Lucas 70
Lake 66
Ashtabula 65
Hocking 65
Greene 62
Montgomery 61
Champaign 58
Summit 58
Geauga 54
Hancock 54
Franklin 53

Top Counties –  Counties with the highest number of Observers in 2018

County # of People Reporting
Summit 70
Franklin 65
Cuyahoga 52
Portage 37
Delaware 34
Montgomery 33
Lucas 32
Greene 30
Hancock 28
Lake 28

Combined Top Scores

County # of Observations Species Reported # of People Reporting
Montgomery 1574 61 33
Franklin 918 53 65
Summit 733 58 70
Champaign 1042 58 26
Lucas 562 70 32
Greene 529 62 30
Hancock 505 54 28
Lake 325 66 28
Cuyahoga 231 43 52
Geauga 388 54 22
Delaware 300 45 34
Medina 412 46 24
Ashtabula 387 65 17
Lorain 443 43 22

These numbers reinforce the thread – more people lead to more observations, which lead to more species being seen.

Most Observed Species Data – 2018 – top 7

Species # of Users observing # of counties reported Total # of observations
Eastern Pondhawk 182 87 1455
Eastern Forktail 127 86 1323
Blue Dasher 164 88 1214
Widow Skimmer 149 86 939
Eastern Amberwing 123 85 896
Fragile Forktail 111 85 843
Common Whitetail 152 81 803

*Note that there are only 88 counties in Ohio

Surprise! Eastern Pondhawk is our champion for most observations across Ohio! If there is one dragon you are most likely to find, it is this beast.

Most Observed Species Data prior to 2018 – top 7

Species # of Users observing # of counties reported Total # of observations
Eastern Forktail 309 88 2092
Eastern Pondhawk 292 88 1792
Blue Dasher 291 88 1792
Widow Skimmer 330 88 1576
Common Whitetail 308 88 1575
Eastern Amberwing 255 88 1280
Ebony Jewelwing 300 87 1202


It’s interesting to see the slight changes in order in the most observed. No surprises, any of these species could be expected through most of the season, especially Jun-Jul, anywhere there’s water.

The flip-side are species where numbers are low, and or in the past. If you wanna be a rock star at the conference, find one of these…

Species not seen since before 1990:

Species Year last seen County last observed
Spine-crowned Clubtail 1937 Ashland
Taper-tailed Darner 1960 Cuyahoga
Variable Darner 1951 Williams
Georgia River Cruiser 1956 Paulding
Hine’s Emerald 1961 Lucas
Kennedy’s Emerald 1955 Erie
Little Blue Dragonlet 1933 Vinton
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk 1957 Knox
Appalachian Jewelwing 1900 Ashland
Atlantic Bluet 1897 Franklin
Furtive Forktail 1959 Marion

The Hine’s Emerald is a Federally Endangered Species, that was described from specimens in Ohio. (And also named after one of our key dragonfly collectors, J.S. Hine). Alas, it has not been documented in Ohio since 1961.


Additional Species with very limited range:

# counties last seen – county

Species Year last seen County last observed
American Emerald 2018 Portage
Jade Clubtail 2018 Shelby/Auglaize
Striped Saddlebags 2018 Lucas/Summit
Belted Whiteface 2017 Lucas
Incurvate Emerald 1996 Athens
River Bluet 2016 Hancock
Scarlet Skimmer 2018 Summit
Yellow-sided Skimmer 2011 Pike

So, are you going to go out this year and try to find these missing species? Let us know if you think you found them!

2018 County Records

Written by Jim Lemon and MaLisa Spring

The Ohio Odonata Society maintains a database for our Dragon/Damsel records. Key data are species, date, and location (including county). The earliest record date for a species in a county is known as the “County Record”. This can be a bit of a moving target as observations/specimens come to our knowledge. But it’s interesting to note county records at discrete moments, and update appropriately. New county records can mean different things – 1) part of it is simply having someone making observations, 2) part of it is species expanding their range, 3) part is irruption (sudden change due to various factors).

2018 was a banner year for new County Records. We had 286 County Records, far above any other year in our data!

Our Top Counties (#New County Records 2018) are most likely simply having people out looking:

Wood (12 new records); Lawrence (11); Guernsey (10); Madison (10); Preble (9); Brown (7); Fulton (7); Hocking (7); Sandusky (7); Seneca (7)

Map of the new 2018 County Records. The darker the color, the more records found in that county.

Looking at the map, most of these are towards the edge of the state, if not a border county. More observers leads to more observations and subsequently new county records.


If we look at the species having the most recent County Records, we see a different look.

Most New Species County Records – 2018 – 2017 – 2016

Carolina Saddlebags = 15 (3 in 2017)

Wandering Glider = 15 (5 in 2017)

Dusky Dancer = 12 (8 in 2017)

Westfall’s Slender Bluet = 11 (9 in 2017)

Slaty Skimmer = 10 (13 in 2017)

Flag-tailed Spinyleg = 8 (1 in 2017)

Unicorn Clubtail = 8 (4 in 2017)

Blue-faced Meadowhawk = 7 (4 in 2017)

Blue-ringed Dancer = 7 (5 in 2017)

Comet Darner = 7 (4 in 2017)

Vesper Bluet = 7 (4 in 2017)

One story here is the big numbers for Carolina Saddlebags in 2018 – 15 County Records and reported in 25 other counties. While the State Record was established in Fairfield Co in 1895, after that there are many multiple year gaps in the data. Not until 1995 were there reports in more than two counties. Saddlebags are migratory, and many of our 2018 observations (but not all!) were early in the season – so we might have been on the receiving end of a successful brood in the Gulf States.

Carolina Saddlebags have a large patch of red in their hindwings and a mostly red abomen with the exception of abdominal segments 8 and 9, which are mostly black. This species is prone to hovering, so it is not as easy to get a clear, sharp shot for ID.

Slaty Skimmer has more county records (26) in the last three years than any other species. This is another that was first observed in the 1800’s – Erie Co in 1896, but then recorded very infrequently until our first statewide survey in the 1990’s. Observations and county numbers have climbed every year for the last five. In addition to the new county records, Slaty’s were reported in 60 counties in 2018. This is a pretty classic range expansion – and 20 counties still needing Slaty observations.

The Slaty Skimmer is sometimes called the Blueberry Dragon, as its skin is similar in color to a ripe blueberry. These will often perch for you, making a photograph slightly easier if you can find them. They have clear wings with completely black stigmas (the weird dark cells at the top of the wings).

Our next two – Westfall’s Slender Bluet (23) and Wandering Glider (22) – are most likely the result of having more people out looking. Wandering Glider is our global Odonate – and not uncommon, so just have people out looking is key. Westfall’s Slender Bluet is not a strong flier and is similar to several of our other Bluets – but just having people look around is likely a big factor.

The Wandering Gliders are about as frustrating to net as they are to photograph. They don’t even rest for mating, instead doing it on the wing! These pernicious hovering dragons will constantly move and dodge, to the frustration of photographers and specimen collectors. Many field groups spent a lot of time trying to document these last year. We would have records for these statewide if they would just sit still for a little bit more. They are also sometimes called flying carrots or flying cheetos, owing to their orange coloration and angular abdomen.

Westfall’s Slender Bluet is one of our easier male damselflies to identify with large blue eyespots, taking up most of the back of the head. The tip of their abdomen is also mostly black with only small rings of blue along the anterior (front) edge. Then it is not until the 8th and 9th segment that the abdomen is covered in blue again. They also have narrow thoracic stripes, with more blue on their thorax compared to the other blue damselflies. This pair is in tandem, with the male grasping the females neck as a form of mate guarding or protection.


County Maps Updates from 2018 data!

Guest post by Jim Lemon

For all our Ohio Odonata species, we have made maps of where they have been reported, by county, and color coded to how recently a species has been reported. White means no observations (and a shot at a county record), and the darker the more recent. Wait – there’s more – new county records are indicated for the last three years – 2018 is the biggest dot, 2017 slightly smaller, then smallest for 2016. We also include the adult record count to provide an idea of how common things are, and flight period (but we also have separate charts on the frequency). Maps for all species can be found at: https://u.osu.edu/ohioodonatasurvey/species-distributions-across-ohio/

A couple examples

Look at Blue Dasher – all dark blue – somebody submitted an observation from every Ohio county in 2018! Our only species for 2018 with this distinction. We also see that it’s been recorded from late Apr through late Oct – a long flight. With almost 2900 records, it is one of our most common dragons.

Blue Dasher

Our most common dragonfly across the state, the Blue Dasher is found at most ponds and lakes in high abundances.


Now look at Comet Darner – see all three different dot sizes. Also note the wide distribution across the state – these things are terrific flyers. Note the color variation – older records are not as dark. These are probably in every county at some point – you just need to be in the right place at the right time. Comet flight is shorter (Jun-Jul) than the Blue Dasher, and has considerably fewer observations – so, more of a challenge!


Comet Darner-

Perhaps part of the reason that Comet Darners are so poorly documented across the state is of their reluctance to perch and pose for a photograph. Many observations end up with a blurry photo like the above, but it is enough to ID.


Finally, look at Swift Setwing, one of our newest Odonates. First observed in Champaign Co in 2014, then Greene Co in 2016 (small dot), Muskingum and Montgomery in 2017 (medium dot), then five new counties in 2018 (big dots). This is an example of range expansion. There are no “old” records – so the location counties are all the darkest color. Then look at the spread – Swift Setwing wouldn’t be a surprise anywhere in the state. If we continue the trend, we should find 5 or more new county records in 2019.


Swift Setwing-

The Swift Setwing is on our “To Find” list for 2019. Will you get a county record by finding this beast?


Next look at Unicorn Clubtail. While its’ numbers are lower than Blue Dasher, we still see a reasonable curve with a tighter peak – pretty much in June. While we see a data point in September, specifically finding a Unicorn after mid-July would be pretty uncommon. Given the widespread range for Unicorn Clubtails, search for them in June in any of the 22 counties where they have not yet been reported.

Most of the clubtails are tricky to ID, but the Unicorn clubtail is one of the few with distinct characters of yellow cerci (the prongs on the tips of the tail) and the last abdominal segment entirely yellow. They also have a small bump on the top of their forehead if you can get a clear enough view.


Last example – Blue Corporal. After the first survey, Blue Corporal was listed as endangered. This may still be true, but we have been seeing more of them recently. But you have to look early – and in our southern counties. The chart shows them appearing in April, with a quick rise to mid-May and then a steep drop-off. So, short early flight and apparently limited range – can we find them expanding? See also our separate blog post on the Blue Corporal here: https://u.osu.edu/ohioodonatasurvey/2019/03/01/rare-dragons-the-blue-corporal-ladona-deplanata/


The Blue Corporal might be mistaken for a Blue Dasher, Pondhawk, or Slaty Skimmer, but has two dark patches on the bases of the hindwings not found in the other species. As the flight chart suggests, it also flies much earlier in the season than its more common cousins.


“Rare” Dragons – The Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata)

Let’s talk about a weird dragonfly in Ohio. First officially documented in 1992, we have no earlier records of the Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata).

The only one I have seen wasn’t very cooperative. I have a single out of focus shot, followed by several attempts to net it.


Due to its limited range and poor documentation, the Blue Corporal was considered worthy of listing as a species in trouble. Thus, it gained status as State Endangered in Ohio.

And it is not like people weren’t looking for dragonflies in Ohio. In the 1990’s, there was a dedicated attempt to survey the state, which is part of why we know it is here now. They also looked through museum records and publications, but the earliest record was still 1992.

The 1990’s Ohio Odonata Survey ended in the 1990s (surprise) and then effort to look for dragonflies in Ohio waned. Then I got my job as the State Coordinator of the Ohio Dragonfly Survey in the spring of 2017. Now there are lots of amazing volunteers out photographing dragons!

And guess what? Those Blue Corporals? In the last few years, we have had many people documenting them! The numbers are still somewhat low, but last year we found 51 of them!!




What’s more, now that we have enough observations, we can start to understand the regionality of the species. Oddly enough, the Blue Corporal is mostly documented south of Interstate 70.

Map of the iNaturalist records for Ladona deplanata as of Jan 30, 2019.

We also do not see many observations in the eastern most portion of southern Ohio. Perhaps in part because we have very few people surveying there. Tie in the fact that this species flies mainly in April and May, means a very limited window to document.

Should this species still be listed as State Endangered? I’m not sure and that isn’t my call to make at this time. I am happy to see it showing up in many more spots. Hopefully, we will get more people out this year to document them even better!


Do you think you have seen one? Submit it to iNaturalist so we can confirm the record and add it to our database!


ID tips: 
The Blue Corporal males have a wide thorax and abdomen that is a light or slate blue. The base of the hindwings is diagnostic, with a splash of black. You might mistake a male Blue Corporal for an Eastern Pondhawk (has a green face and white cerci), Blue Dasher (black tip of the abdomen, generally skinnier), or Slaty Skimmer (darker blue body, generally skinnier, perches off the ground). All of the similar species fly later in the season and are less likely to be found in April/May in Ohio. Females look similar to baskettails with a mostly brown body, but also are generally wider.

From Left to Right: Eastern Pondhawk, Blue Dasher, and Slaty Skimmer. These are some of our more common blue dragonflies in Ohio, present at most lakes and ponds midsummer.




Ohio Dragonfly Conference registration live!

The 2019 Ohio Dragonfly Conference registration is now live! Both the registration form and all of the conference information can be found on the following webpage: https://u.osu.edu/ohioodonatasurvey/2019-ohio-dragonfly-conference/

It is set to be a great conference this year in Rio Grande, Ohio (southern Ohio) on May 31st – June 2nd. We hope to see the state Endangered species of Blue Corporals and Uhler’s Sundragons among many other cool species.

This is a conference for beginners and advanced alike. We will have introductory identification presentation for those new to the world of dragonflies, followed by several more in depth presentations on identification and ecology.

There will be plenty of other fun presentations including some on photography, gardening for dragonflies, and local natural history.

Our keynote speaker is Michael Moore!

Michael Moore is a research biologist who investigates how animal life cycles and mating interactions adapt to different environments. Michael has studied a diverse suite of animals in regions all across the United States—including dragonflies, amphibians, fish, and ladybugs. Michael received a B.S. from Gonzaga University, a M.S. from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Beginning later this summer, he will be starting as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Living Earth Collaborative—a new center for biodiversity research at Washington University, the St. Louis Zoo, and the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

He will talk about his recent research on Blue Dashers and using iNaturalist to unravel national differences in the population.

We will have guided field trips on Saturday where we get out to find potentially cool dragons and apply our new skills. Field trips will be to local habitats including wildlife areas and state parks.

Registration cost is $40 for regular attendees and $10 for students.


Don’t wait! Register now and save your spot today!


Oh, and did I mention we also plan to have moth sheets in the evening after the main conference? Join us to learn about dragons, but also maximize your cool insect time to see other cool insects at night!

Or maybe documenting native stink bugs or rove beetles is more up your alley? Regardless, there will be cool things to see and people there who will be able to explain why they are cool.

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