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Posts Tagged ‘Beach Insects’

Dragonflies and Damselflies and Castles Made of Sand

Posted by Jody on March 21, 2012

Blue Dasher Dragonfly - Pachydiplax longipennis (Photo by Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia Commons)

It’s true, anyone who has spent time during the summer months around inland lakes and beaches has enjoyed the company of dragonflies and damselflies.  These beautiful insects are colorful, agile and downright fun to watch. Growing up in the Midwest, whiling away those hot, humid days at the lake shore, dragonflies exemplified summer as much as sunburns and the sounds of the ice cream truck!

Red Saddlebags - Tramea onusta (Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson/Wikimedia Commons)

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “No other group of animals – even birds – is as aerially adept as a dragonfly. They can travel forward, backward, and any other direction. Shifts in direction take place at lightning speed, and this agility makes dragonflies awesomely efficient aerial predators. And that’s what they’re doing on the wing – hunting a variety of other flying insects. Prey can range from small flies and mosquitoes, clear up to other dragonflies. Large species have even been observed capturing swallowtail butterflies!”

Ohio State Parks manages 59 beaches on 47 inland lakes across the Buckeye State. These inland bodies of water, along with the beaches of Lake Erie, streams, rivers, ponds, marshes and other wetlands, offer a multitude of exceptional places to spot dragonflies and damselflies. The ODNR states,  “Lake Erie beaches seem to act as swarming areas for migratory dragonflies, which often gather along them in late summer and fall.”

Common Baskettail - Epitheca cynosura (Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson/Wikimedia Commons)

There is an absolutely wonderful, free 76 page field guide entitled “The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ohio”  made available online by the Department of Natural Resources. It’s packed with useful information and beautiful images. This booklet has everything you and your family need to help identify whether you’ve spotted a dragonfly or a damselfly, descriptions, habitats specific to each species, flight periods and area(s) of Ohio where you may find each one. It also includes a checklist of the 164 species of dragonflies and damselflies recorded to date in Ohio.

Now, there’s some summertime “homework” that I would have loved! How about you?


Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Great Lakes Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetles

Posted by E.G.D. on December 14, 2011

I discovered the most lovely little beach beetle online, today!  It’s a great discovery, I think, because the northeastern beach tiger beetle is considered “imperiled” (per-endangered) and is not as commonly seen these days as it was in the past.

Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle (Photo by Nieminen, Gene - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Tada!  Aren’t they cute?  According to a pdf pamphlet by Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, “large, attractive, and cream colored, the northeastern beach tiger beetle roams beaches on the Chesapeake Bay and parts of the Atlantic Coast. Adults have a green-bronze head and thorax and paired dark markings on their cream-colored forewings, or elytra. These predatory beetles have large pinching jaws, long legs that allow fast movement, and long antennae. Adults are about 2/3 in. long; the larvae, already possessing large jaws, grow to 5/8 in.”

Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle in a Jar (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

These beetles are truly beach wildlife. They live between the high-tide line and the dunes, and larvae can be found in burrows in the upper intertidal zone.  If you’re in their habitat area and see little holes in the beach sand, you may be looking at larvae burrows!  Please avoid stepping on them.  According to a fact sheet by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, foot and vehicular traffic killing larvae is a large part of the reason the species is threatened.

So, happy beetle-spotting to all of you on the Atlantic coast and in the Chesapeake Bay area!  If you get a good picture of one, please share.  Mahalo- E.G.D.

Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach and Coastal Wildlife | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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