Friday, September 21, 2012

Primilinary List of Dragonflies of Staten Island, 2012

Since 2009, the Staten Island Dragonfly Atlas (SIDfA) volunteers and Staten Island Museum staff have conducted censuses at the majority of the island's freshwater systems and marsh to better understand the current composition and distribution of the dragonfly (Anisoptera) community.

A complete article covering each species individually and a printed checklist will be released in 2013 to mark the 100th anniversary of William T. Davis' last list of Staten Island's dragonflies (see bibliography below).

The following list has been compiled from four major sources: SIDfA field observations, Paul Lederer's 1998 & 2000 Staten Island Dragonfly Survey lists, NYC Parks records, and historical accounts from William T. Davis (complete bibliography below).   

Please report any species listed as "Rare/Historical" to the author.

Common (18 species)
· Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
· Swamp Darner (Epiaeshna heros)
· Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa)
· Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)
· Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)
· Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)
· Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)
· Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)
· Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)
· Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax flavescens)
· Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)
· Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea)
· Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)
· Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)
· Ruby Meadowhawk (Sympetrum rubicundulum)
· Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum)
· Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina)
· Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)

Uncommon (19 species)
· Comet Darner (Anax longipes)
· Fawn Darner (Boyeria vinosa)
· Spatterdock Darner (Rhionaeschna mutate)
· Unicorn Clubtail (Arigomphus cillosipes)
· Common Baskettail (Epitheca cynosure)
· Prince's Baskettail (Epitheca princeps)
· Mocha Emerald (Somatochlora linearis)
· Clamp-tipped Emerald (Somatochlora tenebrosa)
· Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata)
· Double-ringed Pennant (Celithemis verna)
· Banded Pennant (Celithemis fasciata)
· Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice)
· Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta)
· Bar-winged Skimmer (Libellula axilena)
· Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea)
· Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami)
· Painted Skimmer (Libellula semifasciata)
· White-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum obtrusum)
· Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum)

Rare/Historical (23 species)
· Lance-tipped Darner (Aeshna constricta)
· Black-tipped Darner (Aeshna tuberculifera)
· Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa)
· Green-striped Darner (Aeshna verticalis)
· Springtime Darner (Basiaeshna janata)
· Harlequin Darner (Gomphaeshna furcillata)
· Lancet Clubtail (Gomphus exilis)
· Southern Pigmy Clubtail (Lanthus vernalis)
· Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus)
· Twin-spotted Spiketail (Cordulegaster maculate)
· Stream Cruiser (Didymops transversa)
· Petite Emerald (Dorocordulia lepida)
· Racket-tailed Emerald (Dorocordulia libera)
· Martha's Pennant (Celithemis martha)
· Little Blue Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax minuscula)
· White Corporal (Ladona exusta)
· Chalk-fronted Corporal (Ladona julia)
· Frosted Whiteface (Leucorrhinia frigida)
· Belted Whiteface (Leucorrhinia proxima)
· Yellow-sided Skimmer (Libellula flavida)
· Four-spotted Skimmer (Libellula quadrimaculata)
· Elfin Skimmer (Nannothemis bella)
· Jane's Meadowhawk (Sympetrum janeae)
· Striped Saddlebags (Tramea calverti)

Davis, William T. 1898. Preliminary List of the Dragonflies of Staten Island, with notes and dates of capture. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 6:195-198

Davis, William T. 1913. Dragonflies of the Vicinity of New York City with a description of a new species. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 21:11-29

NYC Parks records, 2010, unpublished

Staten Island Dragonfly Atlas records, 2012, unpublished

-Seth Wollney, Section of Natural History Staten Island Museum

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Locations surveyed 06/23/12: High Rock Park, Staten Island NY
Locations surveyed 06/24/12: Mill Creek Pond & Long Pond State Park, Staten Island NY

On Saturday I spent the day lurking about the trails and waterways of High Rock Park.  The Anisoptera encountered were expected, but on a trail around Lake Ohrbach I happened upon a special surprise; a ghostly angel hair-thin shape floated through the shaded vegetation, only noticeable for its baby blue anterior and posterior accents.  My life Attenuated Bluet (Enallagma daeckii)!  It was mesmerizing to watch the grace and precision of this tiny creature as it hovered amid the foliage, spiraling slowly around stems and plucking morsels from the undersides of leaves.  This species is a perfect example of how that thin, elongate body provides the perfect balance and stability needed for a slow, "grazing" lifestyle, as opposed to the relatively compact, more powerful design of the Anisoptera, experts at the high speed chase and capture approach.  I netted this individual, but alas the creature's diminutive proportions in combination with low lighting conditions taxed my camera beyond its limits, and my tiny prize flew off leaving me with only dark, dull photos.  Amazingly, less than a hundred yards away on a different trail I came across a second individual, likewise drifting along leisurely, examining low vegetation and occasionally perching for short spans.  This find is all the more satisfying because it was not an Island species included in the NYDDS conducted in 2005, and not one I ever expected to come across here.

Later I sought out a grassy intersection of trails, an open area with several ponds nearby where I suspected I would be able to find Lestes gathering.  I was not disappointed.  The first were several Slender Spreadwings (Lestes rectangularis), a mix of males and females.  Then I caught sight of a smaller, rather typically brownish-bronzy female.  This one I wisely netted, and close examination, especially of terminal appendages, made me confident that I was holding a Southern Spreadwing (Lestes australis).  2 more were seen in the clearing.  Upon exiting to my trail, I found a male perched.  I was unable to net this one before it eluded me, but I did get one serviceable photo, which I have included in my album SIDaveOdes.  I suspect this is also an L. australis, possibly immature as indicated by the limited pruinosity.  I found the design on S2 interesting, but none of my literature discusses this mark.  The cerci and paraprocts are not clear in the photo, so I am not sure a definitive ID can be made.  The thoracic pattern seems right, and the antehumerals narrow drastically just before the wing frame.  If anyone can offer any constructive feedback, either pro or con, I would be appreciative.

A complete list of species for the above locations follows:

Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros)
Unicorn Clubtail (Arigomphus villosipes)
12-Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)
Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)
Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)
Painted Skimmer (Libellula semifasciata)
Bar-Winged Skimmer (Libellula axilena)
Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)
Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)
Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)
Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina)
Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicolis)
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)
Meadowhawk (Sympetrum Sp., teneral female)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta)
Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa)
Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)
Slender Spreadwing (Lestes rectangularis)
Swamp Spreadwing (Lestes vigilax)
Southern Spreadwing (Lestes australis)
Variable Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea)
Attenuated Bluet (Enallagma daeckii)
Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum)
Azure Bluet (Enallagma aspersum)
Skimming Bluet (Enallagma geminatum)
Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita)
Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis)

David W. Eib
The Staten Island Dragonfly Atlas

Friday, June 1, 2012

Great Start to 2012 Flight Season

On Monday, May 28, I did a thorough survey of the ponds at High Rock Park on Staten Island, in the heart of the 2,800 acre Greenbelt managed by NYC Parks.  These are primarily moist deciduous woodlands with scattered stands of conifers, with wetlands situated at varying heights up to several hundred feet above sea level. Although the Parks Dept. and Audubon websites indicate only 5 ponds within High Rock boundaries, there are many more in adjacent areas, and the hilly topography is such that, in very wet springs like this one, running streams, hillside seeps and vernal pools increase the variety of Ode habitat. The larger water bodies run the gamut from full, lily-covered swamps to marshes overrun with loosestrife to open water like Ohrbach Lake, with skunk cabbage and emergent vegetation limited to within a few yards of the shore. 

Here I found the following:

-Common Green Darner (Anax junius) – abundant, frequently diving onto the water
in the 88 degree heat
-Comet Darner (Anax longipes) – 2 males flying patrols in surprisingly close
-Spatterdock Darner (Rhionaeschna mutata) – 3 males
-Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros) – seen at all ponds, one female ovipositing on a
dead log right below the boardwalk where I stood
-Common Baskettail (E.cynosura) – 12, most defending small territories of a few
square meters
-Painted Skimmer (Libellula semifasciata) – 21 seen, 1 pair in tandem, female
then ovipositing
-Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea) – 1 male perched
-Bar-winged Skimmer (Libellula axilena) – 8 male and 2 female, 1 pair in tandem
followed by the female ovipositing with male hover guarding and aggressively
defending against another male
-Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans) – 29, mostly defending from perches or
making brief sorties, but at least 2 females seen ovipositing with males hover
-Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) – at least 200 seen; this number will
easily quadruple in the next month
-Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) – oddly, only 2 seen
-Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina) – 4, including a pair in tandem for an
extended period of time relentlessly pursued by another male
-Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) – 1 male perched, occasionally driving away
interlopers as large as Anax junius

Zygoptera were represented by Fragile Forktails (Ischnura posita), Eastern
Forktails (Ischnura verticalis) and Orange Bluets (Enallagma signatum), many
either in wheel or ovipositing.

The season is definitely off to a good start! Good hunting all.

David W. Eib
SI Dragonfly Atlas

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 Update

Thank You for visiting the SI Dragonfly Atlas' blog.

We are currently updating the blog, database and website.  Please visit again in mid-June for our new look and information about the direction of the Atlas.

-Seth Wollney Section of Natural History Staten Island Museum

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Workshop this Sunday!

Field Workshop at Blue Heron Park
Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 12(noon)

We will be reviewing field techniques for counting and recording observations for the SIDfA project. Some dragonflies will also be netted for close-up inspection of field marks!

Meet in the Nature Center parking lots, 222 Pollion Rd.

For more information call Seth at 718-619-5905

-Seth Wollney
Section of Natural History
Staten Island Museum

Another New Species Added to the Island's List!

Congratulations to SIDfA Volunteer, Anne Purcell for adding a new species to the Island's List! Anne found up to 7 Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps) at the Silver Lake Reservoir on Monday, August 3. This is a common species in New York and New Jersey, but had eluded previous dragonfly researchers.

On Tuesday morning, Jarred Sutton and I took a trip to photograph (on right) and observe the new find. We were able to locate at least 4 males patrolling the shoreline!

The species can easily be viewed by searching the rocky/weedy shoreline of the north (little) side of the reservior from the paved walkways. Many Widow Skimmers were also noted, especially near the flag pole.

-Seth Wollney
Section of Natural History
Staten Island Museum

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Species Recorded for Staten Island

Hi All...

Thanks to every one for starting to submit records to the data base!

Dave Eib, SIDfA volunteer discovered a large "Mosaic" darner at Walker Pond while surveying on June 25th. Luckily, the d-fly perched close enough for Dave to capture the stunning photograph on the right! Thanks to such an amazing photograph we were able to identify this amazing creature as Staten Island's first recorded Spatterdock Darn (Rhionaeschna mutata).

This is proof positive that more species occur on the island than are presently known about so new discoveries are out there to be made by the ardent observer...

Happy Dragonflying....

-Seth Wollney
Section of Natural History
Staten Island Museum