Where to focus our effort? Using our time wisely

One challenge with species documentation is to figure out where it is worth it to spend our effort looking for unreported species. I have already briefly touched on this with my post on dragonfly and damselfly species richness and abundance by county. However, there are many ways to look at the data we currently have available.

We know that there are several counties that we just have not had that many people out looking for new records, thus there *should* be easy county records if we could just get someone to turn in reports from those counties. Later, I hope to be able to compile information of which Odonates we are missing that are found in specific habitats. So ideally, I will be able to say “We found species X, Y, and Z in ___ county, which are all known river species. How about checking out a few ponds, bogs, seeps, or other areas?” For now, I am sticking with rough metrics as I learn more about the individual species habitat preferences.

Similar to my earlier maps, I created new maps in R to illustrate counties that have fewer than 300 records (43 counties!!) or fewer than 40 reported species (17 counties).

This is a map of the Ohio counties that have fewer than 300 observations (in blue) reported as of Dec ’16 in the OOS database. This also includes the vetted iNaturalist records. Map created in R using packages ggmap, mapdata, and dplyr by MaLisa Spring.

This is a map of the Ohio counties that have fewer than 40 species (in blue) reported as of Dec ’16 in the OOS database. This also includes the vetted iNaturalist records. Map created in R using packages ggmap, mapdata, and dplyr by MaLisa Spring.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that these counties are some of the lower populated regions of Ohio.

Ohio Population map from 2010 census data with red showing high population density and green showing lower human population densities. This map was created by JimIrwin under the GNU Free Documentation License.

However, human population and sample effort are not the full explanation as to why the above counties have such low reported species richness. It could also be that those regions also have little aquatic diversity (ponds, streams, inlets, rivers, bogs, and other areas will all bring different Odonates). Especially considering that southeastern and southern Ohio also have low sample effort and human population, but have more than 40 species reported. If you have been to southern and southeastern Ohio, you know that the terrain and habitat are extremely different from the flat-lands of the north and western parts.

So what does this all mean? Well, that much is up for interpretation. We need dragonfly and damselfly records from ALL parts of Ohio, but these maps show that at least a few counties could be considered neglected. If you live in one of the well reported areas, we still want your records! However, if you decide to plan a weekend Odonata Adventure to get more county records with your name attached, consider going to one of the neglected regions in the maps. Later, I will try to do posts focusing on one county at a time, highlighting a place to check out.

How do I report records? See the tabs for Photo Submission and for Physical Collection protocols.

How did you make those maps? I’m glad you asked! The maps were made in R using packages ggmap, mapdata, and dplyr. I have uploaded both the R code and .csv file if you want to take your own shot at making maps.

Want to learn more about Odonata and the survey? Odo-Con-17 still has space available and we would love to see you there! It is June 23-25, 2017 and we would like it to be a great kick off event for the Ohio Odonata Survey.

If you have any other questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me at spring dot 99 at osu dot edu or on twitter @EntoSpring.



Odonata Species Richness versus Sample Effort* by County

As I work with the old Ohio Odonata Society (OOS) Database, I am trying to get an idea of which areas in Ohio need the most effort (and are most likely to have new county records). To do this, I compiled all of the data from the OOS database by County and documented the species richness known from that county and the approximate sample effort that has gone into that county (number of specimens/observations). The sample effort is a rather broad approximation as I know the OOS has moved towards only recording new county records in the past couple of years, but it still serves as a rough measuring stick for most of the counties.

The species richness and sample effort by County in Ohio

As you might predict, we find more species in counties with more sampling effort (see Species Area Curve for similar info: here for wiki and here for original article). However, you will notice that after a certain point you get diminishing returns for your sample effort (but returns nonetheless).

To get an idea what all of this looks like graphically, I also made maps of species richness by county using R.

This is the Odonata Species richness by county based on the OOS database as of Dec 2016. You can see “hotspots” of higher species richness that may indicate true higher species richness or be an artifact of sample effort.

This is the OOS database (as of Dec 2016) sample effort*, or at least approximately so. You can see that several regions have had many more observations than others, perhaps partly due to human population density and partly due to key Odonatologists living in those counties.

If you want more maps of Ohio, check out the species distribution tab to see where each of the 165 species were reported across Ohio. The species distribution maps also include vetted iNaturalist data (as of Dec 16), which has not yet been fully combined with the OOS database.


Below is the species richness and effort by county in a table, so you can quickly look up by individual county. Note that there are additional rows for counties that have ? after them. These data were included in the richness versus effort graph, but not in the county maps as I could not officially determine whether the records were from that county.

Side note: if you would like to replicate these maps, or alter them as you see fit, I have included the RCode (you will need R, RStudio, or compatible program) and the .csv datafile for the species richness and sample effort by county.

County Species Number Sample effort*
Adams 87 636
Allen 39 139
Ashland 94 929
Ashtabula 97 896
Athens 72 485
Auglaize 41 204
Belmont 40 245
Brown 41 111
Butler 68 635
Carroll 51 194
Champaign 78 1401
Clark 50 364
Clermont 49 412
Clinton 34 226
Columbiana 66 263
Coshocton 55 322
Crawford 38 173
Cuyahoga 81 407
Darke 54 169
Defiance 81 673
Delaware 78 568
Erie 80 1106
Fairfield 81 1106
Fayette 32 115
Franklin 101 2358
Fulton 48 156
Gallia 51 192
Geauga 104 1705
Greene 69 763
Guernsey 44 208
Hamilton 76 558
Hancock 67 277
Hardin 39 137
Harrison 39 100
Henry 37 69
Highland 47 215
Hocking 80 747
Holmes 56 388
Huron 45 121
Jackson 49 322
Jefferson 50 162
Knox 65 361
Lake 107 2335
Lawrence 43 132
Licking 94 1466
Logan 80 1390
Lorain 58 158
Lucas 101 587
Madison 45 340
Mahoning 59 130
Marion 40 67
Medina 71 257
Meigs 49 196
Mercer 40 115
Miami 67 439
Monroe 39 109
Montgomery 74 993
Montgomery ? 3 16
Morgan 54 292
Morgan/Athens ? 3 11
Morgan/Perry ? 1 1
Morrow 48 206
Muskingum 60 444
Muskingum ? 5 47
Noble 38 139
Ottawa 71 999
Ottawa ? 2 3
Paulding 86 1078
Perry 47 175
Pickaway 53 483
Pike 62 225
Pike ? 1 1
Portage 107 1104
Portage ? 8 40
Portage/Summit ? 1 2
Preble 37 172
Putnam 47 236
Putnam ? 1 5
Richland 67 131
Richland ? 1 2
Ross 60 467
Ross ? 1 2
Sandusky 35 201
Scioto 54 199
Scioto ? 2 2
Seneca 38 146
Shelby 43 184
Shelby ? 2 2
Stark 77 445
Summit 101 913
Summit ? 2 6
Trumbull 70 481
Tuscarawas 56 430
Union 41 258
Van Wert 38 99
Vinton 79 956
Vinton ? 2 3
WV Wood ? 1 2
Warren 50 525
Washington 66 930
Wayne 69 826
Wayne/Stark ? 3 5
Williams 112 2439
Wood 40 117
Wyandot 38 150
Wyandot  ? 1 3

Species Records by County: Muskingum Co.

As I try to get everything up and running, I will attempt to publish species/abundance lists for each county. This is an example page as I get more of the scripts working and access to more databases. These numbers and abundances are from the Ohio Odonata Society Database (current up to 2016), but I hope to get more compiled databases together.

I also wanted to start with my home county as an example, so here we have the lovely Muskingum county, home of the Y-bridge and many hardworking individuals.

Muskingum County is known for it’s unique Y-bridge and for once being the capital of Ohio, but you are sure to find some interesting Odonates if you search around the many waterways. Image courtesy of Chris Spring.

Muskingum County

Total number of species: 60

Total abundance of specimens in database: 444

Species List (Common names on right):

Aeshna constricta Lance-tipped Darner
Aeshna umbrosa Shadow Darner
Amphiagrion saucium Eastern Red Damsel
Anax junius Common Green Darner
Archilestes grandis Great Spreadwing
Argia apicalis Blue-fronted Dancer
Argia fumipennis violacea Violet Dancer
Argia sedula Blue-ringed Dancer
Argia tibialis Blue-tipped Dancer
Arigomphus villosipes Unicorn Clubtail
Basiaeschna janata Springtime Darner
Boyeria vinosa Fawn Darner
Calopteryx maculata Ebony Jewelwing
Celithemis elisa Calico Pennant
Celithemis eponina Halloween Pennant
Chromagrion conditum Aurora Damsel
Enallagma antennatum Rainbow Bluet
Enallagma aspersum Azure Bluet
Enallagma basidens Double-striped Bluet
Enallagma civile Familiar Bluet
Enallagma ebrium Marsh Bluet
Enallagma exsulans Stream Bluet
Enallagma geminatum Skimming Bluet
Enallagma signatum Orange Bluet
Enallagma traviatum westfalli Western Slender Bluet
Enallagma vesperum Vesper Bluet
Epiaeschna heros Swamp Darner
Epitheca cynosura Common Baskettail
Epitheca princeps Prince Baskettail
Erythemis simplicicollis Eastern Pondhawk
Gomphus exilis Lancet Clubtail
Gomphus fraternus Midland Clubtail
Gomphus lividus Ashy Clubtail
Gomphus vastus Cobra Clubtail
Hetaerina americana American Rubyspot
Ischnura posita Fragile Forktail
Ischnura verticalis Eastern Forktail
Lestes australis Southern Spreadwing
Lestes congener Spotted Spreadwing
Lestes dryas Emerald Spreadwing
Lestes eurinus Amber-winged Spreadwing
Lestes rectangularis Slender Spreadwing
Leucorrhinia intacta Dot-tailed Whiteface
Libellula cyanea Eastern Spangled Skimmer
Libellula luctuosa Widow Skimmer
Libellula pulchella Twelve-spotted Skimmer
Libellula semifasciata Painted Skimmer
Macromia i. illinoiensis Illinois River Cruiser
Macromia taeniolata Royal River Cruiser
Neurocordulia molesta Smoky Shadowdragon
Pachydiplax longipennis Blue Dasher
Perithemis tenera Eastern Amberwing
Plathemis lydia Common Whitetail
Stylurus spiniceps Arrow Clubtail
Sympetrum ambiguum Blue-faced Meadowhawk
Sympetrum obtrusum White-faced Meadowhawk
Sympetrum rubicundulum Ruby Meadowhawk
Sympetrum semicinctum Band-winged Meadowhawk
Sympetrum vicinum Autumn Meadowhawk
Tramea lacerata Black Saddlebags


So residents of Muskingum County (and visitors), have you seen any dragonflies and damselflies not on this list? Do you have a photo copy or specimen with date and precise location? If so, then you can contribute and make this list even more comprehensive! Please get in touch by sending an email to spring . 99 at osu . edu