24 September 2007: I took a long day trip with Fabrice de Lacour to the southern reaches of New Jersey to look for three late season species, Fine-lined Emerald Somatochlora filosa, Blue-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum ambiguum and Russet-tipped Clubtail Stylurus plagiatus.
We were pretty successful. We found quite a few emeralds by the Manumuskin River but alas, no females. The clubtail was plentiful. Although access to the river is quite limited, we counted more than twenty including mating pairs. The site we visited is listed in Bob Barber's survey of Cumberland County from the early 1990's. It was good to find the dragonflies still doing well there and most of the surrounding land is protected.
However we couldn't find Barber's sites for the meadowhawk. They were described as temporary ponds and over the years, development and maturing vegetation may have eliminated them. Or maybe we just didn't find them. We had to head a little further south into Cape May County to find the meadowhawk.
Two forms or two species?
Comparing my recent Russet-tipped Clubtail scans to scans I made of the species in California last year, I was struck how very different the eastern and western populations are. And not just their markings. Abdomen shape and segment proportions also differ suggesting to some that they might be separate species. Have a look!
|click above for larger image|