Save the date for Odo-Con-18! June 22-24, 2018

Are you interested in learning more about dragonflies and damselflies in Ohio? Does rubbing elbows with naturalists from across the state and beyond to discuss Ohio’s biodiversity sound like a good time? Then join us June 22-24, 2018 for Odo-Con-18 in Hancock and surrounding counties! It will be based at the Oak Woods Nature Preserve with trips to other areas, but space is limited to 125 registrants. This will be Ohio’s largest Odonata-centric event and we would love for you to join us! Registration is $40 for regular attendees and a discounted rate of $15 for students.

This is a conference for beginners and advanced alike, with field trips to areas with cool odes (and birds, and leps, and bees). We will be at the Oak Woods Nature Preserve for presentations and food, with field trips in the surrounding regions. You might even get a county record in some of these areas as most of Northwestern Ohio is understudied!

Events include:

  • Expert guided field trips
  • Identification/Ecology presentations
  • Evening Poster Session*
  • Business meeting for the Ohio Odonata Society on Sunday

Tentative schedule: check back for a better schedule.
Friday June 22nd:
5 PM: Arrival/social – meet the regional coordinators
6 PM: Kick-off and awards
7 PM: Opener
8 PM: Keynote speaker – Kurt Mead (Author of Dragonflies of the North Woods)

Saturday June 23rd:
9 AM -12: Dragonfly/Damselfly presentations or local field trips (limited guides)
12 PM: Lunch on your own
1 PM-6:30 PM: Guided field trips
7 PM: Catered Dinner
8 PM: Poster session*

Sunday June 24th:
9 AM: Business meeting for Ohio Odonata Society – all are welcome and OOS membership is included in Odo-Con registration
10 AM: Depart and self guided field trips based on nearby hotspot list

*Evening poster session pending submission of titles by interested parties.

Call for Posters!
A poster session will take place on Saturday evening. Topics can include, but are not limited to species richness surveys, aquatic ecology, habitat conservation, behavior, or reproduction. Undergraduate and high school students are encouraged to present.  If you would like to contribute, please send your title and abstract (350 words max) to Shane Myers at by May 15th, 2018. Please share far and wide to reach those who might be interested in a poster session. There are limited spaces available.

Poster Registration Deadline: May 15th
Conference Registration Deadline: June 5th

Field Trip information: You can select to go to a field trip on Saturday, the 23rd. You are not required to go out in the field (or attend presentations), but we recommend both to get the optimal experience. We will provide a list of on-your-own field trip locations for Sunday after the conference dismisses. This list below is for the Saturday guided field trips included in your registration. Note that most of this region is relatively understudied, so we do not have comprehensive species lists for the really cool dragonflies and damselflies that we might find at each site.

  • Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area: This 9,000 acre wildlife area has a large swath of grassland, woodland, and wetland areas for us to explore. It is a bit of a drive, but has a good variety of habitats. There is a good chance at finding several interesting species of dragonflies and damselflies here. The prairies include a host of flowering species in the summer including prairie dock, greyheaded coneflower, saw-toothed sunflower, and dense blazing star. There are also a variety of ducks found in the region for interested birders.
  • Litzenberg Memorial Woods, Hancock Parks District: This 200 acre park includes some terrain changes with some wooded ravines. The south side of the park is largely grassland with wet woods and hugging the Blanchard River. Potential Ode species include Slender and Stream bluets, Emerald, Sweetflag, and Slender spreadwings, Powdered and Blue-tipped Dancers, Midland Clubtails, Jewelwings, among others.
  • Springville Marsh State Nature Preserve: Within a 20 minute drive from the conference location, this state nature preserve is a host of plants that are extremely uncommon in Ohio. Many of these species are more often associated with the Atlantic Coastal plain, so we can expect some unique Odonata as well. There is a boardwalk trail system which connects to an observation tower and wildlife blind. This trip will be limited in size, so guides can still point out Odes from the boardwalk and everyone is able to see without being too crowded. Blue Faced Meadhowhawks were reported here in 2017.
  • Bright Conservation Area, Hancock Parks District: This park includes a large, wet grassland along the Blanchard River. Yellow and King Rails have been reported from this site and nearby. This is also close to the first report of a River Bluet (Enallagma anna) in Ohio. Perhaps you be the second person to see one in the State?
  • Hancock Sanitary Landfill: Yes, we said landfill. Now, before you freak out at the concept of paying for a conference to visit a landfill, let us explain. Shane Myers has spend a lot of time at this site, which has open access areas on the northern side of the site. These areas include a large grassland with several ponds, a large woodland area with vernal pools, and a creek. On the map, most of the upper half between CR 140, 109, and 142 is accessible. Large numbers of grasshopper sparrows nest here annually as well as the occasional Henslow’s sparrow. As for Odes, there are a variety of skimmers, Unicorn clubtails, Vesper and Skimming Bluets, Swamp, Slender, Emerald, and Elegant Spreadwings, and Whitefaces, among others.
  • Van Buren State Park: Camping on-site if desired. The eastern part, known as the Horse Camp, has trails leading to nearly year round wet woods. This site is on top of the Defiance Moraine, containing remnant populations of more upland plants than much of the surrounding areas. This is the site with the most elevation change, which isn’t much. Potential odes include the Cyrano Darner, and several bluets and dancers.
  • Oakwoods Nature Preserve, Hancock Parks District: For those who want to spend the minimal amount of time driving, we will have a group trip remaining at the Oakwoods Nature Preserve. This will be catered to beginners and focus on introductory ID skills for dragonflies and damselflies. There are 4.5 miles of trails at our conference center, following several lakes and streams.

New for 2018: Odonata All Stars!
Ohio Dragonfly Survey participants who have contributed to the survey will be acknowledged as Odonata All Stars. If you submitted observations prior to December 15th, 2017, then you are eligible for an award. Odonata-All-Stars will be noted on their name badges.

See the Odo-Con-18 tab for registration details.

To collect or not to collect, that is the question

In recent years, this has been a much debated topic with many picking their sides and sticking to them. Some see no problems with collecting whereas others find many issues with the idea of collecting. The goal of this post is to lay out various reasons why one might choose to collect Odonata versus reasons to not do so.

Why collect?

  1. You cannot confirm the identification in the field/with a camera. As a beginner, this can be hard to determine what is actually identifiable in the field and which you would need a specimen. However, there are several species of Odonata (and most other insects) that you just cannot identify in the field. We are working on a list of groups you will want to collect as they cannot be confirmed without the specimen in hand (certain meadowhawks, spreadwings, darners, basketails, many damsels). Stay tuned.

    For example, many of the meadowhawks have contentious ID’s until they are examined microscopically. Especially the Ruby , Cherry, and White-Faced meadowhawks. Photo by MaLisa Spring

  2. You cannot know what you lost if you do not know what you had. If no one ever documents the species then we will never know we lost it. Even with photo documentation, having the extra physical record saves us the backup copy of all of the digital data. We are hoping that all of our databases last forever, but systems fail and data can be lost or degraded over time.
  3. Future generations can see a species, even if none are left in the wild. Perhaps a bit of a downer, but species go extinct every day. There are several species of insects that used to be common across the Midwest such as the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis) or the Nine-spotted Ladybeetle (Coccinella novemnotata) that are now restricted in range. I grew up having never seen these in the wild, yet our museum records show they used to be somewhat common.

    The nine-spotted ladybeetle (Coccinella novemnotata), which is now rare in the US used to be a rather common sight. This specimen was found in Minnesota, one of the few populations remaining. Very similar to the Seven-spotted ladybeetle (Coccinella septempunctata) which is an invasive species. Photo by MaLisa Spring

  4. Archival of genetic variability in a museum. You cannot extract DNA, heavy metals, or trace elements from a photo. Having a specimen to extract DNA or heavy metals helps us understand population dynamics, species descriptions, potential pathogens, or even natal habitat.
  5. Taxonomy is a work in progress. What is currently thought to be one species might actually be four species only distinguishable by some obscure character not observable via photo. If you have a specimen archived in a museum then you can go back through and determine which species you have. Some examples of taxa I expect to be reworked in the future would be Macromia and Sympetrum.

    There is a lot of inter-species variation in Macromia and many “hybrids” identified, which raises questions about the validity of the species concept. Photo by MaLisa Spring.

  6. The adults are going to die at the end of the year. If they have already given most of their reproductive output, then there is less harm to future generations.

Why NOT collect?

  1. You do not have landowner permission. Do not collect where you do not have permission to collect. We have created a landowner permission letter if you decide to search for dragonflies and damselflies on private lands. Please submit landowner permission letters at the end of the year. On public lands you often need a permit, so make sure to do so in advance. Some parks have granted the Ohio Dragonfly Survey permission, but please contact MaLisa Spring ( to be sure. If you are applying for permits, please let MaLisa Spring know so we can get an idea of where sampling is taking place. One exception to requiring a permit is National Forests (which are different from National Parks or State Forests). Non-commercial collections are allowed, but best to have a copy of the following letters that mention allowing insect collecting: Original USFWS letter and 2011 Update. See the updated Ode Locations page to get a general idea of places to look.

    Just as we all should know not to trespass on private land, you should always collect with permission of the landowner. Make sure you have permission from the right stakeholders so you do not get into trouble down the line. Many public parks and other natural areas require collecting permits. Make sure to start early in the season so you are not left sitting at the edge of a pond unable to catch *insert your target Ode here*. Photo by MaLisa Spring

  2. You do not have supplies. If you are in Ohio, we are providing certain collecting supplies (glassine envelopes, archival envelopes, archival paper, acetone) on the caveat that all specimens must be submitted to regional coordinators to be included in the survey and then archived in a museum for perpetuity. Nets are a matter of personal preference. Some are happy with standard insect net from Bioquip, but others rave about Rose Entomology Nets or even dip nets from your local outdoors store.
  3. You do not have the time to properly label and archive them. This is a pretty good reason to not collect specimens. If you do not have the time to properly preserve (dip in acetone, dry, then label) your dragonflies and damselflies, then perhaps it is best to avoid wasting life. For an explanation on how to preserve specimens, see this guide.

    Messy or improperly archived material is the terror of a museum collection manager. We want you to be able to do things right the first time so your specimens will last hundreds of years (and not end up looking like they were thrown haphazardly in a box.) Photo by MaLisa Spring

  4. It is a federally endangered species. At least in Ohio, the only federally endangered species of Odonata that might be here is the Hine’s Emerald. If you think you found a specimen, take several photos, but do not collect it. Instead, please contact MaLisa Spring ( and Bob Glotzhober ( IMMEDIATELY so we can work on getting someone with the federal collecting permit up there. Note: in Ohio there are several State Endangered and Threatened species that you should also avoid collecting until the Scientific Collecting Permits are obtained. The list of State Endangered species is updated every five years. For more information about the Hine’s Emerald, we have created a half sheet handout that differentiates the Hine’s Emerald from other species. This factsheet will be available at various events, but you can also print your own copy.

    The Hine’s Emerald was originally found and described in Ohio. The paratype (the original specimen used to define the rest of the species) is housed in the Triplehorn Insect Collection. Photo by MaLisa Spring

  5. You are ethically opposed to sacrificing another organism. I do not have a good response for this one. I know that this is a challenge for some people and I do not want to push others to do something they find unpleasant or goes against their beliefs. Personally, I now only collect for research purposes. My personal collection is mainly things that were found dead as I see little point in collecting* if the specimens are not going to be available to the scientific community and future generations. I have a large research collection that is slowly getting incorporated into the Museum of Biological Diversity that currently represents 190+ species of bees found in Ohio, several of which are state records. I will be doing the same with all of the Odonata specimens I collect during my tenure as the State Coordinator.
  6. You might harm local populations by over-harvesting. Ideally, this would never happen, though there are rumors of some overzealous Lepidoptera collectors deliberately wiping out a population to drive up collection prices. For our survey, we restrict collecting to four individuals of the same species per site per day. I tend to lean towards one specimen per species per site and rarely revisit a site enough to warrant the per day restriction. Sometimes there are tricky species that look really similar so you have to grab several specimens just to be sure. Do your best to communicate with your regional and state coordinator if you plan on doing a lot of collections so we can try to avoid sending others out to that region to collect. Generally this is not a problem as invert populations are so large and have short generation times, but better safe than sorry.

Chances of wiping out an ode population are unlikely unless you are in an endangered habitat (fens, bogs, seeps) that is found nowhere else. Then you must be extra cautious about what you take. In the case of this Violet Dancer, it is a pretty safe bet that there are more of them. Photo by MaLisa Spring

The grey area:

So you are or know someone who might be opposed to collecting specimens. You can still help the survey by reporting photo observations to iNaturalist or if you have permission, collecting larval shells after the larvae have emerged from the water and become adults. By collecting cast shells, minimal organisms are injured, but there is an increase in the time it takes to identify.

The shells are not the easiest to spot, but once you know where to look you will start seeing them everywhere! Photo by MaLisa Spring

Your car is a killer. Sure, you notice if you unintentionally hit a coon or possum, but can you say the same for invertebrates? Every time you drive somewhere, you are hitting hundreds or thousands of insects. Sometimes you are unlucky enough to drive through clouds of insects, which no one enjoys. You could collect from your car since they have already been dispatched, but the challenge is location information. The more you can slim that down the better. Interestingly, research has been done on which speeds are most likely to take out a dragonfly, so if you really want to help out those endangered odes, try going just a little slower (where it is safe to do so).

A particularly eventful trip led to several clouds of “bugs” now smeared across the windshield. Photo by MaLisa Spring


Additional Collections Readings:

Insect Collectors Oath – PSU

Collectors Code of Conduct from the Joint Committee for the Conservation of British Invertebrates

Why do entomologists kill insects? A non-taxonomist’s perspective 

Involuntary Bioslaugther and Why a Spider is Dead

Jungle search gives global count of arthropods

Why We Kill Bugs – The Case for Collecting Insects

Permits: Where do you need them?


*With the exception of collecting to learn identifications. Collecting is an integral part of the learning process for some taxa as they cannot be identified via photos (see most beetles, flies, and bees).

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!


Meet the Team: Regional Coordinators for the Ohio Dragonfly Survey

We are doing our best to get the survey off to a running start. Part of that running start is having a solid team of coordinators who people can contact.

Regional coordinators will have supplies (envelopes, acetone, permapens, and archival paper) for those wanting to do physical collections. At the end of each year, volunteers will submit specimens to their regional coordinators who will then forward the specimens to the state coordinator to get incorporated into a permanent museum collection. Regional coordinators are also great sources to ask questions about local habitats or get help with a tricky ID. Eventually, coordinators will help facilitate Odo-Blitzes in their region to try to get people out to an understudied county for a day or weekend. More on those in a future post.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has Ohio broken into five broad regions.

State Coordinator: MaLisa Spring (

I am in charge of the overall survey and coordinating the regional coordinators. Feel free to reach out with general questions or anything related to Odonata in Ohio. I want to hear from you!

Background: I graduated from The Ohio State University with a Masters of Science in Entomology and Marietta College with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. I have worked on many research projects including urban pollinator habitat management, bee richness and floral use, ladybeetle diversity, mangrove restoration in abandoned shrimp farms, and insect diversity in the tropics among others.


Project Coordinator: Dr. Norm Johnson

Norm is the interface between the insect collection in the Museum of Biological Diversity and this survey.

Background:  Norm is the Martha N. and John C. Moser Chair in Arthropod Biosystematics and Biological Diversity and holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Entomology and the Department of Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology. Additionally, he is the Director of the C.A. Triplehorn Insect Collection. His research program focuses on the systematics of parasitic wasps (Platygastroidea). He has a Ph.D from Cornell University and a B.S. from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.


Regional Coordinators:

Central: MaLisa Spring (see above) and Bob Glotzhober (

Background: Bob Glotzhober finds almost any area of natural history of interest and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the wonders of nature. He worked for 33 years with the Ohio Historical Society working with natural history collections, public programs, exhibits, and management of OHS’s
natural areas. Special projects included coordinating the Ohio Dragonfly Survey and working with bones of Pleistocene mammals.
Before coming to OHS he spent three years teaching high school biology, and four years working as a naturalist for the National Wildlife Federation and the Michigan Audubon Society.
Glotzhober has a MS in Zoology from Michigan State University. He served on the Ohio Natural Areas Council for 15 years and was also a member of the Federal Recovery Team for the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly. In 2008 he was awarded the Wildlife Diversity Conservation Award by the Ohio Division of Wildlife for his work with dragonflies and damselflies in Ohio. In 2011 he was given the Distinguished Professional Interpreter Award by the Great Lakes Region of the National Association for Interpretation. In 2014 he was given the Naturalist Award from the Ohio Biological Survey for his years of work promoting the natural history of Ohio.


Northwest: Shane Myers (

Background: Shane has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from University of Findlay and is currently working as a quality engineer for a global auto parts manufacturer. In his free time, he is an active member of the Hancock County Naturalists, and sits on the board of directors for the Blanchard River Watershed Partnership and the Hancock County Parks Foundation. Working with the Hancock County Parks and the Naturalists, he’s been doing a countywide Odonate survey, adding over a dozen species to the county list and one to the state list. He is also working with Robert Sams to update the 1980 book, The Birds of Hancock County, including nearly 100 years of bird data.

 Northeast: Linda Gilbert (

Background: Linda Gilbert serves on the staff of Geauga Park District as a naturalist and field technician.  Her background in natural history comes from being raised on a wonderful piece of rural property and also from an avid curiosity to know what kinds of wild things share the environment.  Undergraduate biology courses and extra-curricular nature studies have also helped to expand and deepen her interest in nature.  Linda conducts dragonfly/damselfly surveys on several park properties as well as her own.  She is a co-author with Larry Rosche and Judy Semroc of Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio 2nd. ed.  In the past, she has volunteered for citizen science projects, including vernal pool monitoring, Monarch butterfly tagging, the Ohio Breeding Bird Survey, and Project Feeder Watch.  Linda is also a professional musician and holds degrees in music from Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory and Cleveland State University.  Hobbies include nature photography and water-gardening.

Southeast: Lynda Andrews (

Background: Lynda is currently employed as a supervisory wildlife biologist on the Wayne National Forest. She began her Forest Service career in 1989 as a wildlife biologist on the Somerset and Stearns Ranger Districts of the Daniel Boone National Forest.  She was also previously employed by the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources as the first female biologist hired full-time permanent by the organization and previously spent many hours in Kentucky streams collecting insects for the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission.
A native of Glouster, Ohio (Athens County) Lynda developed her passion for the outdoors and animals by spending countless hours in the Burr Oak area.  She attended Morehead State University, in northeastern Kentucky, where she obtained an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science, Ecology option and ultimately received a Master’s of Science Degree with an emphasis in Zoology.  Her thesis was based on aquatic insects. Today Lynda enjoys birdwatching, tagging Monarch butterflies and photography.

Southwest: Jim Lemon (

Background: Jim grew up on the banks of South Turkeyfoot Creek, a major tributary to the Maumee. He has been fascinated by nature since he turned over his first rock. Jim studied Entomology at OSU, hoping to work in the field, but never got away from the university, retiring in 2012. Now he spends time being an entomologist volunteering – he gives talks and leads tours at Cedar Bog SNP and other natural areas, he is an OCVN, and he co-chairs the Urbana Tree Commission. Jim hosts Moth Nights at Cedar Bog, and has been expanding the Odonata database for Champaign, Miami, Shelby, and Darke Counties.




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