Sunday, September 6, 2009

Late season dragonflies

Odes are still on the wing during the current mild spell. Most conspicuous are ones and twos of darners (Aeshnidae) - Shadow Darners (Aeshna umbrosa) and Canada Darners (A. canadensis) are airborne, seeking out mates and suitable oviposition sites along steam and pool edges.
Shadow Darners (Aeshna umbrosa) from the bank of Angler Creek, west of Marathon - male (front) and female (back).
Among Skimmers (Libellulidae) we've seen many Meadowhawks (Sympetrum sp.) along grassy trails and in clear cuts.
A very late-flying Boreal Snaketail (Ophiogomphus colubrinus) seen east of Terrace Bay.
The only Clubtail (Gomphidae) we encountered this past week was a lone Boreal Snaketail (Ophigomphus colubrinus) near Terrace Bay. According to Colin Jones, administrator of the Ontario Odonata Atlas database, September 4 is only five days shy of the latest date on record for the species. The associated website, hosted by the Natural Heritage Information Centre of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, includes distribution maps of all of the damselflies and dragonflies known from the province. It's a great source for generating regional lists of species that can be expected from a given area. There appears to be a paucity of records for the north shore of Lake Superior.

Here, for example, is the map showing the occurrences of Boreal Snaketail in northern Ontario.

Colin Jones is also a co-author of the recently published Field Guide to The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and the Surrounding Area. This easy-to-use guide covers most of the species one can expect in our area and has greatly enhanced our appreciation of the local fauna.

More on the guide:

A comprehensive field guide to all 135 species of dragonflies and damselflies found in Algonquin Provincial Park and surrounding area, extending across southcentral Ontario and into southwestern Quebec. Detailed, full-colour illustrations of all species, including males, females and variants. Additional close-up illustrations of features important in species identification. Key field marks are highlighted through the use of arrows and accompanying text. Information on identification, similar species, habitat, behaviour, flight period, status and range for each species. Includes an introduction, complete with illustrations and photographs, to anatomy and life cycle, as well as the fundamentals of observation, identification and capture. A site guide to some of the key areas within Algonquin Park to find and observe these fascinating insects. This book is one of many publications produced by The Friends of Algonquin Park, and the first in the new Field Guide series. Colin D. Jones, Andrea Kingsley, Peter Burke and Matt Holder. Released October 2008, soft cover, 14 x 21cm, 263 pages

This guide can be purchased here.

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