29 May 2007

New yard ode

Stylurus here!

It's always nice to be surprised by a dragonfly.

While tinkering on the patio, I heard some pitter-patter on top of our open garage door. The door is hinged at the top and when open it is horizontal to the ground. I did a couple of vertical jumps to see what was making the noise and a female House Sparrow flew off to the adjacent conifer. Just as I made my second jump, a friend came around the corner of the house and asked, "What are you doing?" I'm sure I looked silly jumping in place by the garage. "I'm looking at the House Sparrow," and then I thought nothing more of the bird.

Thirty minutes later I went to close the garage door since Nannothemis and I were going to head out for some urban dragon hunting. However, at the top of the door was a clubtail. I quickly snatched her up while noticing her deformed wingtips. This bug must have been the sparrow's interest.

Our "expedition" was put on hold as this wasn't a typical yard ode. After analysis with a hand lens and microscope, we determined the specimen to be a female Unicorn Clubtail (Arigomphus villosipes). There are only a dozen or so specimens for Michigan.

Although identification of villosipes is fairly straightfoward, this female had a subgenital plate and ovipositer that actually looked more like the diagrams of A. pallidus (Gray-green Clubtail, not found in our area) in Needham, Westfall, and May than villosipes, although in all other respects it was typical villosipes. Nannothemis took some pix through the microscope, and may get around to posting them here.

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