I had a mission to find a new species on the Rouge River this year. The river's water quality has improved since the 1960s when the river actually caught on fire. Over the past few years we've found a couple of locations in Hines Park for species such as American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana), Blue-tipped Dancer (Argia tibialis), and Blue-ringed Dancer (A. sedula).
Over the past few weeks, I've been checking suspected locations for Smoky Rubyspot (H. titia) along the Rouge River in Wayne County, Michigan. Today, under cloudy skies and a temperature of 60F, I finally succeeded at Levan Knoll!
The west end of this area has a one-lane bridge and is just downstream of a high quality water area identified by Friends of the Rouge. Upon arrival at the riverbank, three American Rubyspots (H. americana) flew up. Here is one of the males:
On the opposite bank, a downed tree and gravel bank provided good perching opportunities for more rubyspots. Then I saw saw the true habitat requirement for H. titia... a half-submerged barrel:
I turned around, walked a few feet, and flushed a male Smoky Rubyspot (H. titia) from a grapevine! It perched over the river on a leaf, just out of reach:
After some time, it moved back over to the grapevine:
This species has now been confirmed on three rivers in Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit River, Huron River, Rouge River).