20 November 2023

Finally another Wayne County record

It's been 10 years since we published our Wayne County, Michigan checklist, and this past decade it has stood at 90 species supported by voucher specimens. We moved out of the county 11 years ago, and have concentrated our efforts elsewhere. We have visited some of our old haunts more recently, but this very urban county has seen still more development, further lessening the opportunity for discovering new species, or even seeing many previously recorded ones.

This is not to say that vouchers have not been added to the Michigan database we are working on.  As we explained in our Plains Emerald post, we've been working with various watershed groups to identify the odonate nymphs they collect during their water quality surveys. We've incorporated these identifications into our data, and thus have acquired dozens of data points for nymphs in Wayne County, primarily from material from Friends of the Rouge and the Huron River Watershed Council

We've also been looking through the collections, both of adults and nymphs/exuviae, at the University of Michigan. We've been aware of a record of a nymph of Springtime Darner, Basiaeschna janata, for the county, but we've never been able to locate it. It is a species that was on our "hypothetical" list, because we have a sight record from Livonia in 2006. 

Looking for particular immature specimens among thousands of vials in hundreds of racks.
We finally came across the vial with a late instar nymph last week, stuck in a box of miscellaneous stuff rather than filed in the racks with the rest of the Aeshnidae.

The long-lost vial.

We confirmed the nymph is, indeed, Springtime Darner. Unfortunately, there is no location on the tag, and we have no information or other data from this collector, although we've searched all taxa across many collections in data aggregators. We suspect the tag in the vial is not the original, as it looks to be written by Ethan Bright, who did the initial identification. Since this isn't a particularly rare or unusual species and expected in the county, it is now tallied as the 91st on the Wayne County checklist.

This Springtime Darner was netted in Livingston County in 2018.

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