The ranges, they are a-changin’

As we progress with the survey, we want to get an idea of which species are in each county and where any range expansions (or contractions) are occurring. This is especially of interest as we expect more southern species to migrate up and establish populations in Ohio.

Below are three such species that we really want to document their new ranges (or see if they are incidental observations).

Rambur’s Forktail (Ischnura ramburii):

This species has been reported at water garden stores that bring up vegetation from southern states. As of yet, we are considering these populations as incidental until we can find them in more sites and not just in places that regularly import materials from southern locations. Do keep an eye out the next time you are at a water garden. It looks very similar to the Eastern Forktail, but has a slightly different color pattern on the terminal appendage. Note the amount of black on S9 for males.  Bugguide linkOdonata Central Link.

Rough sketch of male Rambur’s Forktail terminal appendage patterning by MaLisa Spring. Created in MS paint, so apologies for proportions.

Rough sketch of male Eastern Forktail terminal appendage patterning by MaLisa Spring. Created in MS paint, so apologies for proportions.

Swift Spreadwing (Dythemis velox):

Now known from five sites across the state in Greene, Champaign, Montgomery, and Muskingum County. These are distinct in how they hold their wings forward and have black wing tips. It is likely that this is now across most of the state, but we just need to document it. If you see one please get photo documentation and if possible collect a specimen (given landowner permission). Bugguide link. Odonata Central Link.

Swift Setwing posing with it’s characteristic wing posture. Keep an eye out for these wonderful dragons as they expand their range. Who knows, they might already be in your backyard! Photo by MaLisa Spring

Golden-Winged Skimmer (Libellula auripennis):

An uncommon sight, but this specimen was the third record for the state that was found during Odo-Con-17. This one was potentially blown up on the hurricane remnants a few days before the conference, but hard to be sure. If you see one, be sure to document and get good photos of the wing venation and thorax. Bugguide link. Odonata Central Link.

Dorsal view of Golden-winged Skimmer. Much more common in southern states and very similar to Needham’s skimmer. Photo by MaLisa Spring

Side (lateral) view of Golden-winged Skimmer. Much more common in southern states and very similar to Needham’s skimmer. Photo by MaLisa Spring

Also keep an eye out:

New State Record of a Belted Whiteface (Leucorrhinia proxima) by Rick Nirschl and confirmed on Odonata Central.

Potential for Scelionid wasps (egg parasitoids) hitching a ride on the abdomens of dragons and damsels. As of yet undocumented in Odonata, but a recent blog post from North Carolina suggests that they might be around. Dr. Norm Johnson at the Museum of Biological Diversity is particularly interested in these records. If you see any, try to catch a few specimens as it is likely to be a species new to science. The challenge is actually seeing them in the first place. If you think you have some in your collection, shoot me an email at!


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