Monday, February 20, 2012

Seeing Red: Cardinal Meadowhawk

Most meadowhawks (Sympetrum) are red—at least the males are, and sometimes the females too—but the Cardinal Meadowhawk (S. illotum) is about as red as they get. Mature males are simply vivid. Among the first spring-flying dragonflies in the Pacific Northwest lowlands west of the Cascades, it’s a welcome splash of color after a damp, dreary winter. Look for them at marshes and well-vegetated ponds and lakes of all sizes. Check out this map at OdonataCentral and see if this species has been recorded in your area.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Checklist of North American Odonata, 2012

Click image to open the PDF.
Just a quick message to let you know that the 2012 edition of A Checklist of North American Odonata by Dennis Paulson and Sidney Dunkle is now available. You can find the PDF (just over 1 MB) here at You can also just click on the image at right to open it.

Originally published by the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound, in 1999, this document isn’t simply a list since it contains a wealth of information on each species recorded from the continental United States and Canada. In each species entry you can find reference information for the original description, the type locality, etymology of the scientific and English names, and a brief description of its range. Similar information is also presented for each genus.

A sample from A Checklist of North American Odonata, 2012 edition.
The introduction has information on the number of species and genera in each family and suborder, the number of newly described species by family and by decade, and on the adoption of standardized English names. At the other end of the document, the extensive annotated bibliography indicates which genera and species were described in each publication, and the appendix wraps it up with a list of synonyms.

If you’re serious (even just mildly serious) about Odonata in North America, this document is a must-have, and since it’s free, you can’t argue about the price!