Saturday, April 14, 2018

Aurora Damsel Habitats: Blue Yellow Sides, Half-Open Wings, Long Legs


Summary: North American aurora damsel habitats from the Great Plains east to Nova Scotia through Georgia get blue yellow sides, half-open wings and long legs.


male aurora damsel (Chromagrion conditum); Prince William Forest Park, Triangle, southeastern Prince William County, Northern Virginia; June 2, 2016: Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

North American aurora damsel habitats arrange arborists, master gardeners, master naturalists and tree stewards into watery distribution ranges from Atlantic coastal Nova Scotia through Virginia westward through Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota and Ontario.
Aurora damsels bear their common name as pond damsels with spotted thoracic sides blazing yellow like sunrises and the scientific name Chromagrion conditum (colored damselfly hidden). Common names chart the scientific committee consensus of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, whose Executive Council contains three editors, three regular members and nine officers. Descriptions in 1876 by Hermann August Hagen (May 30, 1817-Nov. 9, 1893) for Michel Edmond de Sélys Longchamps (May 25, 1813-Dec. 11, 1900) drive scientific designations.
Aurora damsel lifespans expect vegetation-edged beaver ponds, clear pools, cold brooks, sheltered, slow-moving, spring-fed streams and sphagnum bogs, grassy, marshy wetlands and vegetated seeps and swamps.

April through August function as optimal, southernmost flight seasons even though May through June furnish wildlife mapping opportunities for all aurora damsel coastal and inland niches.
Female and male aurora damsels get their wings only half-closed on perches on open vegetation and males often go for long, slow flights over open waters. Holding wings somewhat open on perches hints more of spreadwing damselflies than of the pond damsel family, whose members have reposed wings closed with few exceptions. The angle of the wings is closed upright over the abdomen when aurora damsels, like all damselflies during inactive nights, inhabit ground- or near-ground-level nightly roots.
Ants, assassin flies, biting midges, ducks, falcons, fish, flycatchers, frogs, grebes, lizards, spiders, turtles and water beetles, bugs and mites jeopardize North American aurora damsel habitats.

Immature aurora damsels keep dull, faded, light, pale colors and low size ranges even though mature females know either brighter, male-like or duller, female-like morphs (colors).
Incomplete metamorphosis leads aurora damsels from egg stages to egg-hatched, immature, multi-molting larval, naiad or nymph stages that look like little, non-flying adults and to adulthood. Adults manage 24- to 54-minute matings before making 12- to 52-minute flights for ovipositing sites and manipulating eggs into submerged vegetation with 24 to 51 minutes. Aurora damsels in the Coenagrionidae pond damsel family need aphids, beetles, borers, caddisflies, copepods, crane flies, dobsonflies, gnats, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, rotifers, scuds, water fleas and worms.
North American aurora damsel habitats offer season-coldest temperature ranges, north- to south-ward, from minus 45 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 42.77 to minus 12.22 degrees Celsius).

Beech, bellflower, birch, bladderwort, cattail, daisy, grass, greenbrier, heath, laurel, madder, maple, nettle, olive, pepperbush, pine, pondweed, rush, sedge, water-lily and willow families promote aurora damsels.
Black-striped, blue- or yellow-sided, brown thoraxes, blue- or brown-topped, gray-bottomed eyes with two black upper stripes and blue-ringed black abdomens quicken adult, black-headed, blue-faced female identifications. Adult males reveal black heads and legs, blue eyes and faces, blue-ringed black abdomens and gray-white-bottomed blue thoraxes with black, wavy-edged stripes and yellow-spotted blue sides. Adults show off 1.26- to 1.49-inch (32- to 38-millimeter) head-body lengths, 1.02- to 1.26-inch (26- to 32-millimeter) abdomens and 079- to 1.02-inch (20- to 26-millimeter) hindwings.
Black-striped, blue- or yellow-sided, blue or brown thoraxes, half-open wings and long appendages tell aurora damsels from other damselflies in overlapping North American aurora damsel habitats.

male aurora damsel (left) and female aurora damsel (right); Prince William Forest Park, Triangle, southeastern Prince William County, Northern Virginia; May 26, 2016: Judy Gallagher (judygva), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
male aurora damsel (Chromagrion conditum); Prince William Forest Park, Triangle, southeastern Prince William County, Northern Virginia; June 2, 2016: Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aurora_Damsel_-_Chromagrion_conditum,_Prince_William_Forest_Park,_Triangle,_Virginia_-_26821533233.jpg
male aurora damsel (left) and female aurora damsel (right); Prince William Forest Park, Triangle, southeastern Prince William County, Northern Virginia; May 26, 2016: Judy Gallagher (judygva), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/52450054@N04/26786588704/

For further information:
Abbott, John C. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Princeton NJ; Oxford UK: Princeton University Press, 2005.
Beaton, Giff. Dragonflies & Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast. Athens GA; London UK: University of Georgia Press, 2007.
Berger, Cynthia. Dragonflies. Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpole Books: Wild Guide, 2004.
Bright, Ethan. "Chromagrion conditum." Aquatic Insects of Michigan > Odonata (Dragon- and Damselflies) of Michigan > Zygoptera, Selys, 1854 > Coenagrionidae, Kirby, 1890 (Pond Damselflies) > Chromagrion Needham, 1903 (Aurora Damsel).
Available @ http://www.aquaticinsects.org/sp/Odonata/sp_oom.html
"Chromagrion conditum." James Cook University-Medusa: The Odonata - Dragonflies and Damselflies > Zygoptera > Coenagrionidae > Chromagrion.
Available via James Cook University-Medusa @ https://medusa.jcu.edu.au/Dragonflies/openset/displaySpecies.php?spid=3582
Paulson, Dennis. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Princeton Field Guides, 2011.
Sélys Longchamps, M. Edm (Michel Edmond) de. "Synopsis des Agrionines (Suite de la 5e Légion: Agrion): 157. Erythromma conditum, Hagen. mss." Bulletin de l'Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et les Beaux-Arts de Belgique, quarante-cinquième année (série 2), tome XLI: 1305-1307. Bruxelles (Brussels), Belgium: F. Hayez, 1876.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/5700453
Available via HathiTrust @ https://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044093256832?urlappend=%3Bseq=1343


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