12 July 2014

Ophio Odyssey - day 1, stop 2

Please note: Ophiogomphus howei is currently listed as threatened in Michigan, and collection of live specimens is prohibited without a state-issued endangered and threatened species permit (which we have).

2nd stop = Fast Water / Slippery Rocks

Paint River at Highway 69 in Crystal Falls

This area was one location that MNFI found O. howei and O. anomalus.

Initially, I stopped at the boat launch on the NW corner of the intersection on June 11, 2014.  Here the Paint River has a high flow rate with slippery rocks that are larger in size.  Walking here was a bit tricky at times. It had deeper silt along the shore upstream.  The pictures below are deceiving since the knee-deep water looks so calm.

I ended up walking to the bridge abutment in the middle and found a few exuviae, but I only saw a couple adults flying: Four-spotted Skimmer (L. quadrimculata) and Swift River Cruiser (M. illinoiensis). 

I could see a park on the east side of the river with a boardwalk, the Paint River Boardwalk which looked good for exuviae locations so I drove to that side.  

It was quite silty around the pilings of the boardwalk platforms, but I found several exuviae.  This also provided a good location for walking upstream in the river.  

There were several adults flying including: Chalk-fronted Corporal (Ladonna julia), Springtime Darner (Basiaeschna janata), Stream Cruiser (Didymops transversa), and, at one point, I think a Cobra Clubtail (Gomphus vastus) flew in/by.  However, I saw no Ophiogomphus flying.

Here's the stripes of a male Chalk-fronted Corporal (L. julia): 

 ...and a male Stream Cruiser (D. transversa): 

Exuviae collected from under the boardwalk and pilings included one of my target species for the trip with two male Riffle Snaketail (O. anomalus), a couple clubtails (Gomphus sp.), several other snaketails (O. rupinsulensis or carolus), and 2 Stygian Shadowdragons (Neurocordulia yamaskanensis)!  

This is only the third county in Michigan to have the shadowdragons confirmed.  It's great to find some unexpected species.  Some day I'll have to try to find/"see" adult shadowdragons.

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