Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dragonfly Migration

Just like many bird species, a small number of dragonfly species also make long-distance migrations in late summer and early fall. In North America, some 17 dragonfly species migrate between Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the West Indies. Millions move through - even along some Montana mountain ridges - with some flying up to 90 miles in a single day.

This much we know, but we want to learn more.

So a new idea was hatched just this spring. Many of our top entomologists have joined forces to begin a brand new Citizen Science project, the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership, that is designed to shed thousands of lights onto this migration mystery. Those lights are dragonfly sightings from citizen volunteers across the continent. You simply report when and where you see dragonflies, and the big picture slowly appears. A similar effort for butterflies and moths started up a few years back, and now dragonflies are getting their due.

If you want to learn more about dragonflies, or help this ambitious Citizen Scientist project, then check out the links below. The tiny insects and big biologists will be grateful for your interest and your help.

Dragonfly Natural History (4 page PDF), Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (website)
Butterflies and Moths of North America (website)

Gossamer Wilgs (c) John Ashley