02 July 2015

June is Gomphid Time

This year I wanted to confirm flying adults of a couple species of clubtails for Washtenaw County.  Cobra Clubtail (Gomphus vastus) and Riverine Clubtail (Stylurus amnicola) adults had been photographed by others in past years.

I started searching May 23rd at Hudson Mills Metropark along the Huron River.  Several exuviae and one emerging Rusty Snaketail (Ophiogomphus rupinsulensis) were found.

emerging Rusty Snaketail (O. rupinsulensis)

One of the collected exuviae appears to be Cobra Clubtail (G. vastus) and will be checked by another person or two.

Here is a closeup of the exuvia of the emerging snaketail.

Rusty Snaketail (O. rupinsulensis) exuvia
On May 28th I checked Delhi Metropark and found more exuviae.  Again, Rusty Snaketails and an apparent Cobra Clubtail (which needs confirmation) were collected.  Teneral adults were observed flying up to the trees along the Huron River.  The days and nights following this visit were quite cool/cold and I wonder if the teneral individuals survived since I didn't find good numbers of clubtails in the following week.

Also present were a few Rapids Clubtails (G. quadricolor) and a couple Cyrano Darners (Nasiaeschna pentacantha). 

male Rapids Clubtail (G. quadricolor)
male Cyrano Darner (N. pentacantha)

On June 3rd Sharon Mills County Park had a few species including Unicorn Clubtail (Arigomphus villosipes).

female Unicorn Clubtail (A. villosipes)
On June 11th, I visited Sharon Mills and only found Unicorn Clubtails once again.  I headed downstream to the Raisin River crossing at Sharon Valley Road.  There were Rusty Snaketails (Ophiogomphus rupinsulensis), Swift River Cruisers (Macromia illinoiensis), and a few male Green-faced Clubtails (Gomphus viridifrons).

male Green-faced Clubtail (G. viridifrons)
dorsal view of a male Green-faced Clubtail's abdomen

On June 13th, I returned to Delhi Metropark and finally had success with one of my targets.  Flying adult Riverine Clubtails (S. amnicola) were out and I saw at least two males.

male Riverine Clubtail (S. amnicola)

I may have glimpsed a Cobra Clubtail (G. vastus) up in the trees, but it didn't allow a proper view for identification.  Also present were approximately ten female Rusty Snaketails (O. rupinsulensis) perching in the vegetation away from the Huron River. 

female Rusty Snaketail (O. rupinsulensis)

I returned to Delhi Metropark on June 18th and saw one Cobra Clubtail (G. vastus) but it was skittish and too far away to be photographed.  There were also a couple young female Riverine Clubtails (S. amnicola).

female Riverine Clubtail (S. amnicola)

The Cobra Clubtail (G. vastus) eluded me throughout June, but I still have some time in July, or there's always next year.

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