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Interesting Odonata News

September 21, 2010
© jmillerphoto – Southern Spreadwing (Lestes australis)

My list of “County Records” for insects is now at a grand total of one.  Let me explain…

When I was home in June I made some images in my backyard.  The butterfly attractants we had planted in the backyard were getting some reasonably good action and since I would not be back again in a while I wanted to make some images.  While making the butterfly images I saw a damselfly.  I shot a couple dozen or so shots of it (we don’t get many damselflies in the back yard) and returned to the butterflies.

Well move the clock forward a couple of months and I finally got around to “tagging” those images in Lightroom (I’ll talk about tagging and digital asset management another time, but for now just consider that I was virtually writing on the back of the prints to identify what it was).  I got to the damselfly and thought I recognized it as a Southern Spreadwing (Lestes australis) or perhaps a Plateau Spreadwing (Lestes alacer).  As I almost always do with my damsel images, I went to Odonata Central to verify I was looking at what I thought I was looking at.  I pulled up the Tom Green County checklist and neither species was in the checklist. I went back to the images I made and then back to the description online and realized I had an minutely small find.

Odonata Central is a service of the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Natural Science Center and is the primary authority in the state for things odonata.  The site is setup to receive reports of County Records, that is the first time a species has been positively identified in a county.  In the old days it would have required capturing the specimen and sending it in, but these days photographic evidence is sufficient.  So I posted my images Friday night and I got a nice e-mail late on Sunday evening saying that it was indeed likely a Southern Spreadwing but the reviewer would send it to the final authority for confirmation.  I got an additional e-mail this afternoon confirming my find.

So put a small 1 in the County Records list.  I expect it will be my last for any species…

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