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A new dragonfly species for Michigan

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A dorsal view photo of a green and black Great Pondhawk dragonfly.The Michigan Odonata Survey (MOS) compiles and maintains verifiable records on the dragonflies and damselflies of Michigan. The state checklist of 171 species is based entirely on specimens housed in collections across the country, dating back to the late 1800s. Since its formation in 1996, the MOS has been managed by MES members. For the last 7 years the MOS has been run by Julie Craves and Darrin O’Brien, who are currently adjunct curators of Odonata at the Michigan State University Albert J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection. Although neither has formal training in entomology, they have discovered and documented eight new species of Odonata for Michigan, and published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals on insects.

The newest addition to the Michigan checklist was found this month by David Marvin in Ingham County: Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa), above. This is a southern species that has been increasingly found in northern states the last several years. To read more about Great Pondhawks and why David’s specimen is so important — perhaps furnishing clues about dragonfly dispersal due to climate change and/or the potential range expansion of this species — see this post at Darrin and Julie’s website Urban Dragon Hunters. You can also read more about the history and status of the MOS along with many resources at the Michigan Odonata Survey website.