Sunday, June 12, 2011

New State Records at Minnesota Dragonfly Gathering.

Since there were not many insects to speak of in Yellowstone when we were there this year, it was still too cold, I do not have any macro pics from our trip. However, I did spend this weekend down at the White Water State Park in south eastern Minnesota participating in the Minnesota Dragonfly Gathering.
Much of southern Minnesota has not been thoroughly surveyed for Dragonflies so during the 3 day event we had many different county records. In counties like Dodge County there was only one recorded dragonfly/damselfly for the entire county. What was more exciting was we had several records of dragons/damsels that we the first in the entire state. The group that I was in on Friday recorded the first state record of the southern spreadwing damsel in Dodge County. On Saturday the group that I was in had an even more exciting discovery. One of our group members netted a Sioux snaketail dragonfly. The Sioux snaketail is a fairly newly discovered dragonfly. It was discovered back in 2004, I believe, near the Grantsburg Wisconsin area. Since then it has only been found in a few sandy bottom rivers and streams along the St Croix River in Wisconsin and similar habitat in northeastern Iowa. That was until Saturday. We located our Sioux Snaketail in Ohmsted County and at the same time a group that returned to Dodge County also found them there.
This was only the second species of snaketail that I have been fortunate to photograph, the other being the rusty snaketail which is pictured above. Snaketails are a subspecies of the Gomphidae, or clubtail family. This is easy to tell because all Gomphidae are dragonflies with separated eyes. Typically it is only damselflies that have separated eyes but Gomphidae are the exception. Snaketails, Ophiogompus are usually found around sandy streams and rivers that have very clear water because the larvae, nymphs, like to bury themselves in the sand.
While we were out we found quite a few of the rusty snake tail but since there were many streams and rivers with similar habitat to where they had been found in Wisconsin and Iowa we were hopeful that we would find some. It was quite easy to tell the difference between the two species of snaketails because the Sioux has a very specific pattern of triangular top spots, shown above, where the rusty snaketail has indistinct top spots, see photo number 3. This morning I went back to the field in Dodge County where they had been spotted to get a few pictures of the dragons in their natural habitat.


La said...

Amazing shots.

Victoria said...

WOW... amazing macros! And marvelous information to go with them... I especially like the extreme close-up you captured in image 2.

Carletta said...

Someday I'll get the face of one like this. But not the one I posted today. :)
Great info. You seemed to have been the right group each time. Exciting discovery.
Great shots!

R. Roushey said...

Amazing shots of these very interesting dragonflies. I was amazed last week with the vast numbers of dragonflies here in Otter Tail county. Our yard and shore line were covered in swarms of them as they helped to get rid of the many gnats around the lake.

Chesney said...

WOW! Incredible clarity and so close! Awesome!

Scott said...

I discovered you site through the watery Wednesday link. You have some outstanding images on here. What is your secret to taking closeups of dragonflies? I have tried and just can't get close enough to use my macro lens on them. They keep flying away whenever I get close.