Calvert County Dragonflies and Damselflies: Part 14 – Meadowhawk & Saddlebag Dragonflies of the Family Libellulidae

Family: Libellulidae (Meadowhawks/Saddlebags)

Due to the large number of species present for this family, I have continued to break down this particular family into smaller segments. This grouping is the conclusion for the Libellulidae family and it also concludes the review of the dragonfly families found in southern Maryland. The next set of entries will be a review of the damselfly species of southern Maryland and in particular of Calvert County.

Four of the five species listed below can be found in all three southern Maryland counties according to Richard Orr’s database. The Red Saddlebags is only listed for Calvert County and is thought to probably be a stray species. While four of the five species in this grouping of dragonflies are represented in the iNaturalist database for at least one of the southern Maryland counties, the Blue-faced Meadowhawk (on the S3 Watch List) and the Black Saddlebags only have a single observation with each in Charles County.

For this group, I have made contributions for two of the species to the Calvert County iNaturalist database: 2 of the 3 observations for the Carolina Saddlebags and the first and only observation of an Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly. These four observations in total for the two species are the only ones in Calvert County for this grouping.

Listed below are the species within this group that have been observed in at least one of the southern Maryland counties and a comparison of the two databases is made (as of March, 2020). As was done with the previous family, I have included notes extracted from the book “Natural History of DelMarVa Dragonflies and Damselflies” by Hal White (reference 1). Of particular relevance for Calvert County, I have also included information on the four species of this group that were observed at the Cove Point LNG Property and reported in “2011-2012 Survey of the Dragonflies and Damseflies (Odonata) of the Cove Point LNG Property (Calvert County, Maryland” by Richard Orr (reference 2).

Blue-faced Meadowhawk/Sympetrum ambiguum
S3 Watch List (see below for definition)
This species favors vernal ponds to lay their eggs in late summer/early fall. This strategy avoids fish predators, but runs the risk of the pond drying out before the larvae hatch the following year. (1)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0​ St. Marys = 0 Charles = 1 (Sept)
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present​ Charles - present

Autumn Meadowhawk/Sympetrum vicinum
On the DelMarVa Peninsula there are reports of this species being present as late as December 8th and even later in New Jersey. It is not known what they do in fall evenings to stay warm. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – abundant/14-Oct to 02-Dec. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 1 (Nov) St. Marys = 0 Charles = 8 (Sept-Nov)
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present Charles - present

Carolina Saddlebags/Tramea carolina
Prior to 1763 no dragonfly species from what is now the United States had been described. In that year the Swedish botanist Linnaeus described Tramea carolina, the Carolina Saddlebags, a species he never saw alive. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – common/05-May to 30-Sept. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 3 (Jun-Jul) St. Marys = 0​ Charles = 2 (May-Jun)
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present Charles - present

Black Saddlebags/Tramea lacerata
Dragonflies have evolved capabilities that continue to challenge aircraft engineers such as the transition from hovering to high-speed pursuit. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – common/19-May to 11-Sept. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0 Charles = 1 (Oct)
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present​ Charles - present

Red Saddlebags/Tramea onusta
Like other saddlebag species, the Red Saddlebags wanders far from its emergence site. Although it normally occurs west of the Mississippi, strays occasionally make it to the eastern US. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – rare/29-Jul. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0 Charles = 0
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – X​ Charles – X

Definitions from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources “List of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Animals of Maryland”:
S3 - Vulnerable / Watchlist — At moderate risk of extinction or extirpation due to a fairly restricted range, relatively few populations or occurrences, recent and widespread declines, threats, or other factors. Typically occurring in 21-80 populations.

Publicado por rosalie-rick rosalie-rick, 22 de marzo de 2020

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