Dragonflies, Damselflies, and Spreadwings, Oh My! in the Scioto Valley

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The Scioto Valley Bird & Nature Club heard from a dragonfly expert in their March monthly meeting, which I previewed earlier. Jim Lemon gave a presentation on the giant flying darning needles, as well as their smaller cousins, the Damselflies and Spreadwings.

Lemon is a retired entymoligst who works with the Ohio Odonata Society – “Odonata” being the classification that the insect hawks belong to. He started the statewide Dragonfly Survey, partly to build enthusiasm of dragonflies.

He also manages dragonfly data in iNaturalist, which he describes as a global information enterprise on the internet that focuses on life on the planet – showing the value of citizen science, allowing anyone to post photos and sounds. Among its millions of observations, Lemon says its dragonfly data has more than 200,000 observations by almost 5,000 people, a citizen science success story.

Lemon said that dragonflies are highly visible creatures of water and wetlands. The first ones are migrating from the south, and the first observation of this year was that day, March 25th, in Dayton. Other insects are their prey, like honeybees – but dragonflies, damselflies, and spreadwings are also eaten by birds. The insects do eat mosquitoes, but the larvae living in water eat far more mosquito larvae that the adults eat flying mosquitoes.

The Ohio Odonata Society has a website, and iNaturalist has a website and Facebook page

Individual memberships to the Scioto Valley Bird & Nature Club are $10, $15 for families. Email Program Director / Vice President Andrew Molloy at roymolloy@gmail.com for information. The Scioto Valley Bird & Nature Club also has a monthly newsletter – and they welcome articles, including reviews of past events – email svbnc.ed@gmail.com.

Learn more in his own words in the video interview in the article on the Scioto Post.

Kevin Coleman covers local government and culture for the Scioto Post and iHeart Media Southern Ohio. For stories or questions, contact Kevin Coleman or the iHeart Southern Ohio Newsroom.

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