Sunday, April 1, 2018

Eastern Red Damsel Habitats: Bulky, Hairy, Red-Blue-Black Thorax


Summary: North American eastern red damsel habitats from Canada and the United States' Great Plains to the Atlantic harbor bulky, hairy, red-blue-black thoraxes.


male eastern red damsel (Amphiagrion saucium); Goose Creek Grasslands Nature Sanctuary; Woodstock Township; Lenawee County, southeastern Michigan; May 29, 2017: Don Henise (Kiskadee 3), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

North American eastern red damsel habitats somewhat appall arborists, master gardeners, master naturalists and tree stewards through mushy distribution ranges from Newfoundland through Georgia and Kansas, Manitoba, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Dakotas.
Eastern red damsels bear their common name as eastern-dwelling, red-colored damselflies and the scientific name Amphiagrion saucium (both damselflies weakened [by smallest-known damselfly size at time?]). Common names celebrate the consensus of scientific committees convened by the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, whose annual meetings continue a tradition of conferencing since 1989. Scientific designations defer to descriptions in 1839 by Karl Hermann Konrad Burmeister (Jan. 15, 1807-May 2, 1892), zoology professor at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.
Eastern red damsel lifespans expect acid bogs, densely vegetated, grass- and sedge-filled, hard-bottomed, shallow, sunlit marshes and ponds, seeps from streams and sloughs with vertical perches.

April through September function as optimal, southernmost flight seasons even though June through July furnish wildlife mapping opportunities for all Great Plains through Atlantic coastal niches.
Mature female and male eastern red damsels go undetected when they get close to stems that they guard as daytime gleaning perches and night-time resting roosts. They hunt, as pond damsels other than sallying dancers, by heading out from perches for aquatic, airborne or terrestrial, motionless or moving, opportunistic or stalked prey. They incline closely parallel to perches for predators not to intercept them and to roosts before the day's sunny temperatures initiate thermoregulation (ambient-induced body temperature control).
Ants, biting midges, ducks, falcons, fish, flycatchers, frogs, grebes, lizards, robber flies, spiders, turtles and water beetles and mites jeopardize North American eastern red damsel habitats.

Immature female and male eastern red damsels keep dull, faded, light, pale colors and low size ranges even though they know dark red, not black, heads.
Incomplete metamorphosis leads eastern red damsels as eggs in floating debris and vegetation and as egg-hatched, multi-molting larvae, naiads or nymphs with predator-latching lips into maturity. Females and males maintain perches on grass or sedge stems, not flat leaves, at or near breeding habitats before mating and manipulating eggs into ovipositing sites. Red damsel members of the Coenagrionidae pond damsel family need aphids, beetles, borers, caddisflies, crane flies, dobsonflies, gnats, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, rotifers, scuds, water fleas and worms.
North American eastern red damsel habitats offer season-coldest temperatures, northward to southward, 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 red damsels.
Black-marked, dull orange heads bluing with age, black-marked, black-tipped, dull orange-red thoraxes bluing with age, clear, dot-tipped wings and light brown-striped eyes quicken adult female identifications. Adult males reveal black heads and thoraxes bluing with age and reddened on sides, black or red legs, black-blotched, black-tipped red abdomens and clear, dot-tipped wings. Adults show off 0.87- to 1.06-inch (22- to 27-millimeter) head-body lengths, 0.67- to 0.87-inch (17- to 22-millimeter) abdomens and 0.55- to 0.67-inch (14- to 17-millimeter) hindwings.
Non-bumpy lower and bulky, hairy, red-blue-black thoraxes respectively tell eastern from western red damsels and from other odonates in overlapping North American eastern red damsel habitats.

male eastern red damsel (left) and female eastern red damsel (right); Goose Creek Grasslands Nature Sanctuary, Woodstock Township; Lenawee County, southeastern Michigan; May 29, 2017: Don Henise (Kiskadee 3), 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.

Image credits:
male eastern red damsel (Amphiagrion saucium); Goose Creek Grasslands Nature Sanctuary; Woodstock Township; Lenawee County, southeastern Michigan; May 29, 2017: Don Henise (Kiskadee 3), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiskadee_3/34592816170/
male eastern red damsel (left) and female eastern red damsel (right); Goose Creek Grasslands Nature Sanctuary, Woodstock Township; Lenawee County, southeastern Michigan; May 29, 2017: Don Henise (Kiskadee 3), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiskadee_3/34816905522/

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.
"Amphiagrion saucium." James Cook University-Medusa: The Odonata - Dragonflies and Damselflies > Zygoptera > Coenagrionidae > Amphiagrion.
Available via James Cook University-Medusa @ https://medusa.jcu.edu.au/Dragonflies/openset/displaySpecies.php?spid=3340
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. "Amphiagrion saucium (Burmeister, 1839: 819 as Agrion) -- Eastern Red Damsel." Aquatic Insects of Michigan > Odonata (Dragon- and Damselflies) of Michigan > Zygoptera, Selys, 1854 > Coenagrionidae, Kirby, 1890 (Pond Damselflies) > Amphiagrion Selys, 1876 (Red Damsels).
Available @ http://www.aquaticinsects.org/sp/Odonata/sp_oom.html
Burmeister, Hermann. 1839. "10. A. saucium." Handbuch der Entomologie. Zweiter Band. Besondere Entomologie. Zweite Abtheilung. Kaukerfe. Gymnognatha. (Zweite Hälfte; vulgo Neuroptera): 819. Berlin, Germany: Theod. Chr. Friedr. (Theodore Christian Friedrich) Enslin, 1839.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/8223179
Available via HathiTrust @ https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015045807354?urlappend=%3Bseq=79
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/handbuchderentom222burm#page/819/mode/1up
Paulson, Dennis. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Princeton Field Guides, 2011.


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