28 May 2005

I hate female gomphids! But love new records

Finally, it's been sort of warm for a few days -- something must be emerging! Stylurus and I went to some of our favorite sandy ponds to look for those annoying early gompids. First stop, Oakwoods Metropark. We've had some very good gomphids here, including the state's first record of Flag-tailed Spinyleg (Dromogomphus spoliatus), although we were unable to voucher the first record. Stylurus decided he needed to stand around in the woods to listen for Acadian Flycatchers, so I kicked around in the weeds near a pond. Only a few glistening-winged teneral odes flew up, but I snagged this one, a female Pronghorn Clubtail. In 2003, we vouchered the first county record of this species at the same location.

Teneral female Pronghorn Clubtail (Gomphus graslinellus)

Off to Sherwood Park, a strange little township park used for fishing and off-road vehicles. It has a large pond surrounded by sandy two-tracks, fields, and woods. Stylurus snagged one of these snoozers, a female Dusky Clubtail, a dull species we found here last year.

Teneral female Dusky Clubtail (Gomphus spicatus)

Don't be impressed -- I can't recognize these in the field, or even in the hand. I had to suffer over some keys back at home. Female Gomphus all have quite different vulvar lamina (the structures under the 9th abdominal segment that hold eggs in place during ovipositing), and G. spicatus has a very distinctive convex, almost tri-lobed occiput, shown in the photo below.

Occiput of G. spicatus

Last, and least in size but not in importance, I netted a very teneral female gomphid that was smaller than the other two. By the time I got it home, it had "deflated." Nonetheless, the vulvar lamina and occiput were still distinguishable. That and the very small size (hindwing 25 mm and abdomen only 30 mm) helped me identify it as a Lancet Clubtail (G. exilis), a new county record, our 40th for Wayne Co. (although two are sight records), bringing the county checklist up to 90 species.

Not much else flying. The ubiquitous Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis), a few Common Whitetails (Libellula lydia), and one teneral Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa). The day quickly turned windy and cloudy, ending our adventures. But the official season seems off to a good start!


Anonymous said...

Congrats . . . fun reading about your day's catch. Pronghorn is one of our more findable clubtails here but the season is nearly over for them!

Good luck this summer . . .


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