Physical Collection Protocols

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

Physical Collections Protocols

All surveyors that are making collections must deposit specimens at a publicly accessible, permanent collection within the state of Ohio. This is especially important for any state-listed species, new county and state records, as well as for those species with difficult identification and those that could be hybrids. Collectors in our survey will follow standard collection and storage guidelines as established by Dragonfly Society of the Americas (DSA), International Odonata Research Institute (IORI), as noted within the 2002 OOS book (see below). The OOS guidelines include limits of no more than four individuals of the same species be taken from the same site on the same day.

Data must include:

  • Collector’s full name
  • Date of collection
  • County (prefer also township)
  • Latitude and longitude of site
  • Name or description of the site (ex: Cedar Creek Bog, The Edge of Appalachia Preserve, etc)
  • Sex and number of each species for each day/site
  • Name of the collection where the specimens are deposited.

Notify MaLisa Spring (State Coordinator, and your regional coordinator of any specimens that may be either exceptional finds or questionable identification, so that their ID may be reviewed by one or more experienced, long-term members of the OOS coordinating committee. We also want to know new locations of any State-listed species. This is especially important if you think you found the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana). Also notify Bob Glotzhober (614-491-2384 or ), who is listed on the federal permit and must also immediately report it to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, HED coordinator.

Either before or simultaneously with your donation of specimens, submit all records to MaLisa Spring on the authorized spreadsheet, which is in the format of the OOS database. Specimen donations will take place after the end of the collecting season, at one time for each collector. For 2018, we would like to have specimens in by December 1st so we have time to vet them and add to the OOS database. This also allows us to get the new data in a usable format to make updated maps.

Preservation and Data Protocols

Specimens should be preserved, prepared, and stored with complete data as per standard practices for Odonata. These are outlined in Chapter 2 of The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ohio on pages 13-18. Info on obtaining this book can be found here, but general explanation on preservation can be found below.

Specimens should be treated in acetone to preserve color and stored in 3×5 Odonate envelopes with data on a 3×5 card and the flap folded over. Dennis Paulson also does a good job of explaining the preservation steps here for those new to dragonfly collections.

If you need collection supplies, please reach out to MaLisa Spring or your regional coordinator. We can get you acetone, glassine envelopes, archival envelopes, and archival paper for long term preservation.

Data should be submitted to both your regional coordinator and MaLisa Spring (State Coordinator) via a spreadsheet, with fields in order described below. Be sure to list date taken, County, Township (if known), short note on site name/location and collector’s name.

Spreadsheet Format for Submissions of Data

Please submit all data in an Excel or SQL spreadsheet, using all the following fields, in the order presented below. Some fields may be left blank – but make sure they are all included in the format. A draft version of the spreadsheet can be found here for those who do not want to create it from scratch.

Field Name Data type/Comments
Accession Number Leave Blank:  Unique # to be assigned by data manager
Sp_Number Insert from list, unique for each species    Number/text
Genus Genus name from list
Species Species name from list
Name Standard common name
Males # of males taken; 1, 2, 3 etc.
Females Same as males format
Nymphs Same as males format
County County where collected.    Required
Township Township where collected.
Section Section if known (???)
Location/ Locale Brief name or description. i.e.  “Big Darby Creek”

How to find site.  i.e. “1/4 mile below U.S. Rt. 40 bridge”

Latitude From GPS unit or Google Earth or iNaturalist, etc.
Longitude same
Precision See below
Day of Month  (Date is three separate fields for sorting purposes) – dd format: 01, 02, …, 30, 31
Month Use 3 letter format. Ex: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, etc
Year  YYYY format: 2017, 2018, 2019
Collector Full name of collector(s)
Comment Short text.  i.e. “New County Record”  “Only one seen”
Collection Code for Ohio Public Collection where deposited
Catalog Number Number assigned by collection facility, if known
Memo Use only for critical info

Below are screenshots of how the spreadsheet should be formatted for submission into the OOS database. Click to enlarge





OOS Approved Depositories

Note: All specimens must be submitted fully identified, preserved, prepared for storage (i.e. Odonata envelopes) and labeled with all data. If you need help identifying your specimens, reach out to MaLisa Spring and your regional coordinator. They must be accompanied by documentation of legal collection if sampled on protected or regulated property. Collector’s full name and contact information must also be supplied.  Regional coordinators will submit specimens for archival to one of the following museums and add the museum code to your document.

 Cincinnati Museum of Natural History/ Cincinnati Museum Center        Code: CinnNH 

Cleveland Museum of Natural History                                                                  Code: CMNH

Dayton Society of Natural History/ Boonshoft Museum of Discovery      Code: DaytonNH

Ohio History Connection, Natural History Collections                                    Code: OHS

Museum of Biological Diversity, Triplehorn Insect Collection                                        Code: OSU


Precision Codes used by the Ohio Dragonfly Survey:

The more specific one can be as to the location, the more valuable the data.
For Streams and Rivers (Linear) For Other Situations 
  L1 – within ½ (0.5) mile or less   S1 – within 200 feet
  L2 – within 1 mile or less   S2 – within a ¼ (0.25) mile circle
  L3 – within 2 miles or less   S3 – within a  ½ (0.5)mile circle
  L4 – within 6 miles or less   S4 – within a section
  L5 – within 36 miles or less   S5 – within a 2 mile circle
  L6 – within ½ (0.5) the distance of the state   S6 – within a township (36 sq. miles)
  L7 – within the state   S7 – within a county
  S8 – within  ½ (0.5) of the state


If you have any questions about the survey, contact:
MaLisa Spring (State,
Norm Johnson (Director of the Triplehorn Insect Collection –,
Bob Glotzhober (Central Regional Coordinator –,
Linda Gilbert (Northeastern Regional Coordinator –,
Lynda Andrews (Southeastern Regional,
Shane Myers (Northwestern Regional Coordinator,
Jim Lemon (Southwestern Regional Coordinator –