Calvert County Damselflies & Dragonflies: Part 17 – Damsel and Dancer Damselflies of the Family Coenagrionidae

Family: Coenagrionidae (Damsels/Dancers)

This is the third and final family of damselflies to be examined in this series of posts. Due to the large number of species present for the Coenagrionidae damselfly family, I will be breaking down this particular family into smaller segments. This grouping is comprised of three genus: Argia (Dancers) and Amphiagrion & Chromagrion (Damsels).

In Richard Orr’s Maryland database, there are seven species of Damsel or Dancer damselfly species listed as present in at least one of the three southern Maryland counties. Four of those species are present in all three counties. At the start of this lengthy review of dragonflies and damselflies, I discovered that one of the species that I had observed in my yard on multiple occasions, and had been submitted and identified in iNaturalist, was not listed by Richard Orr for Calvert County in the Maryland database. While the Blue-fronted Dancer is a common damselfly and recorded in the counties north and south of Calvert County, a verified record of its presence in Calvert County was absent (and also lacking for Charles County as well). I contacted Richard Orr and he asked me to send him locality information along with photographs of the observations. After review, the Blue-fronted Dancer has now been added to the Calvert County list of observed species. Thus, my first significant contribution to the Maryland database. Richard was very encouraging to continue searching to help expand the records for the southern Maryland area.

The iNaturalist observation database for all damselflies in the southern Maryland counties is quite sparse and the pattern continues with this group. There are only 10 observations in total for the three counties. Seven of those ten are from my own Blue-fronted Dancer submissions and they are also the only Calvert County observations. St. Marys County has zero observations, and Charles County has a single observation for each of three species (Blue-fronted Dancer, Variable Dancer, Powdered Dancer).

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 three species 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).

Eastern Red Damsel/Amphiagrion saucium
Some species such as the Eastern Red Damsel have narrow habitat preferences that are rare or sites that are infrequently visited by humans such as grassy spring seepage areas that this species prefers. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – uncommon/10-May to 14-Jun. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0​ St. Marys = 0 Charles = 0
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr): ​Calvert – present St. Marys – present ​Charles - present

Blue-fronted Dancer/Argia apicalis
A study in Oklahoma found that the average estimated adult life span of the Blue-fronted Dancer was a little over eight days. (1)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 7 (Jun-Aug) St. Marys = 0 Charles = 1 (Jun)
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present Charles - X

Seepage Dancer/Argia bipunctulata
The Seepage Dancer is among the rarest damselfly on the DelMarVa Peninsula and among the most threatened because it prefers boggy, seepage habitats such as sea-level fens that are typically smaller than an acre and are rare on the DelMarVa Peninsula. (1)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0​ Charles = 0
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – X St. Marys – X Charles - present

Variable Dancer/Argia fumipennis
Several subspecies received the name Variable Dancer to recognize the diverse appearance of the species over its range. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – rare/19-May to 11-Sept. (2)
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

Powdered Dancer/Argia moesta
The Powdered Dancer only occurs on Piedmont streams and typically perches on rocks in the middle of riffles and short rapids. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – rare/24-Jul. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0 Charles = 1 (Jun)
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – X Charles – present

Blue-tipped Dancer/Argia tibialis
The Blue-tipped Dancer prefers slow-moving, forested streams with silty bottoms and likes to perch on the barkless trunks of fallen trees, twigs, grass, and bare ground along the shore and in nearby woodlands. (1)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0 Charles = 0
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present​ Charles - present

Aurora Damsel/Chromagrion conditium
S3 Watch List (see below for definition)
The Order Odonata includes two major suborders, Anisoptera and Zygoptera, corresponding to dragonflies and damselflies, respectively. These names refer to the differences in the shape of the front and hind wings. Dragonflies have different wing shapes while the damselfly wings are of similar shape. (1)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0 Charles = 0
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present​ Charles - present

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, 03 de abril de 2020

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