20 March 2014

Atlas update

It's been a long winter, and dragonflies on the wing seem a long way off. But there has been activity behind the scenes pertaining to Michigan's Odonata and the Atlas.

The last few months, the state has tasked various committees with reviewing threatened and endangered species, which is done periodically by law. As part of my work on the Insect Technical Advisory Committee, I've been reviewing all the Odonata species currently listed in Michigan as Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern.

As the committee works to form recommendations on elevations, downgrades, additions, and subtractions to the list, we can see that the relatively recent popularity of dragonflies has provided us with a lot of new data to work with. Alas, there are still some species for which we'd like more data on distribution and abundance in the state.

We are going to take advantage of the interest in Michigan Odonata and the Atlas project to ask you to contribute data on a list of about a dozen species this summer season. As their flight dates near, we'll be posting about each species, the habitats and historical locations they have been found, and further information we would like to gather.

We feel that current and accurate data is not only critical to the endangered species review process, but also to the Atlas project. Much of what I've already put together for the committee work will be incorporated into the Atlas species accounts. Mark has also been busy incorporating many new records into the MOS database. All of this -- plus your contributions -- will make the Atlas project even more valuable to Odonata conservation!

The first call for data will be in May. Stay tuned