Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don’t Fear the Dragonfly

I wrote this post several month ago right after starting this blog, then I decided to let it “marinate”. I wondered if maybe I was making too big a deal out of the topic, so instead I wrote and published Do Dragonflies Bite or Sting? as a more informative piece without the psychoanalysis (something for which I have absolutely no training). Since then I have noticed an interesting trend. That post has received far more views than any other post on my blog, and nearly all readers found it with Internet searches using phrases like, “dragonfly bite”, “dragonfly sting”, “do dragonflies bite”, and “do dragonflies sting”, and many other variations along those lines. In fact, those search phrases are the top four phrases which have brought visitors to my blog. So maybe there are a lot more people being bitten or stung by dragonflies than I realize—something which I have a hard time believing, or there really is a lot of fear of being bitten or stung based only on misconceptions. I suspect it’s the latter in a majority of cases. Read on and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Time to Watch for Migrant Meadowhawks

The Phenomenon

Around August and September there’s an intermittent phenomenon at coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest that involves the directional movement of dragonflies (typically southward) and there’s a lot to learn about what exactly is going on. This has been observed most frequently at southern Washington and northern Oregon coastal areas, with sporadic reports from further south into California. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as a migration, but whether it is truly a directed migration (like in the sense that many birds migrate south each year) or something else is one of those things that isn’t yet clear. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Now THIS is Recycling: Jumping Spiders Using Dragonfly Exuviae

When dragonflies emerge and become adults they not only abandon their submerged lifestyle, but they leave behind a natural, albeit temporary, cavity clinging to some above-water surface like a plant, a log, a rock, or even just on the ground. This is their final exuvia—their ultimate nymphal (or larval, if you prefer) exoskeleton within which metamorphosis took place before emergence. These “skin suits” are, of course, biodegradable, but as long as the weather stays dry and it isn’t dislodged by wind, the exuvia can stay intact and in place for some time—possibly for weeks. Why let this little shelter go to waste?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lake of the Woods, Oregon

Lake of the Woods is a large natural lake nestled in the southern Oregon Cascades within sight of the sleeping Mount McLaughlin. With easy access right off Hwy 140 and at almost 5000 feet elevation, it’s a popular summer retreat for hordes of campers, boaters, hikers, and day users of all sorts—a recipe which usually keeps me away, but there is a gem of a spot in the middle of it all which is great for odonates.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Snaketail Emergence Sequence

A while back I posted a sequence of shots of an emerging American Emerald (Cordulia shurtleffii) which was quite popular. You can see that post here. I love emergence sequences, so here’s another one—this time a female Pale Snaketail (Ophiogomphus severus) in the family Gomphidae, or the clubtails. This was on the Burnt River in eastern Oregon a few weeks ago. Just like last time, I included the time stamp in the upper right corner (hh:mm:ss), so you can see how much time elapsed between each shot.