Species Breakouts!

Guest post by Jim Lemon

Breakout Species for 2019 (so far) – Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)

We have seen big expansion (range and observation) of some species in recent years – notably Slaty Skimmer starting in 2017, and Carolina Saddlebags in 2018. These are species that have a historical record in Ohio, but for some periods only averaged 1 every five years, or so.
It appears we will be adding another dragon to this list for 2019 – Great Blue Skimmer (GBS). We already have 33 observations (32 research grade) in 2019. Our OOS historical data only has 92 records for prior years. 2019 observations will include at least 7 new county records (see the map – 2019 observations in orange), and from all across the state.
GBS observations would not be a surprise in any county at this point. Habitat is wooded stream and swamps. My observations all match that description.
Our succession of storm fronts from the south and west may be contributing factors to GBS widespread appearance.
Happy hunting!
UPDATE: As of June 13, we have even more county records for the species with observations in 23 counties and at least 9 new county records.
MaLisa has also spotted them in Muskingum County in a woodland “Vernal” pool that hasn’t dried up for at least a year thanks to our very wet weather. It was a pleasure to watch 6 males actively patrolling the site and not just perching. These males exhibited a unique flight and then hover behavior. Often flying 4 meters, then hovering, then flying another 4 meters, then hovering.

This was one of several Great Blue Skimmers at a new site. This male is gently held by the wings with the habitat type (small wetland opening in a forest) visible.

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