Dragonfly species of Palm Beach County

My post about the Pierides the other day got me thinking of Alexander Pope’s advice, in his Essay on Criticism: “A little learning is a dang’rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”

Pieria was a region in ancient Macedonia, rather than Thessaly where Pierus and his daughters (the Pierides) lived. But Macedonia was where Mount Olympus was supposed to be, and the Muses (also called the Pierides after they pwned Pierus’s daughters in the earliest episode of Ancient Greek Idol) hung out there. So Pieria might well have been named for the Muses, rather than the ancient tribe, the Pieres, or their country of Pieris, as the nonmythological histories would have it.

In any case, I’ve decided to follow Pope’s (not the Pope’s) advice, and try to learn more about the insect life around me. I posted about butterflies last week, so I’m posting about dragonflies this week. (No, I’m not just giving them one week apiece and calling that “drinking deeply”; I’ll be reading about them for months. But it will take a while to get Needham, Westfall & May through interlibrary loan, and we forgot to go to FAU tonight to get Corbet, so…)

Anyway, as part of my project, I decided to find out how many dragonflies are likely to turn up in my area. It turns out that there are 53 recorded species of dragonfly in Palm Beach County, according to Odonata Central:

Anax junius (Common Green Darner)
Anax longipes (Comet Darner)
Aphylla williamsoni (Two-striped Forceptail)
Argia fumipennis (Variable Dancer)
Argia sedula (Blue-ringed Dancer)
Arigomphus pallidus (Gray-green Clubtail)
Brachymesia gravida (Four-spotted Pennant)
Celithemis eponina (Halloween Pennant)
Celithemis ornata (Ornate Pennant)
Coryphaeschna adnexa (Blue-faced Darner)
Coryphaeschna ingens (Regal Darner)
Crocothemis servilia (Scarlet Skimmer)
Enallagma civile (Familiar Bluet)
Enallagma doubledayi (Atlantic Bluet)
Enallagma durum (Big Bluet)
Enallagma pollutum (Florida Bluet)
Enallagma vesperum (Vesper Bluet)
Epitheca princeps (Prince Baskettail)
Epitheca stella (Florida Baskettail)
Erythemis plebeja (Pin-tailed Pondhawk)
Erythemis simplicicollis (Common Pondhawk)
Erythemis vesiculosa (Great Pondhawk)
Erythrodiplax minuscula (Little Blue Dragonlet)
Erythrodiplax umbrata (Band-winged Dragonlet)
Gomphus minutus (Cypress Clubtail)
Gynacantha nervosa (Twilight Darner)
Ischnura hastata (Citrine Forktail)
Ischnura kellicotti (Lilypad Forktail)
Ischnura posita (Fragile Forktail)
Ischnura ramburii (Rambur’s Forktail)
Ladona deplanata (Blue Corporal)
Lestes vidua (Carolina Spreadwing)
Libellula auripennis (Golden-winged Skimmer)
Libellula axilena (Bar-winged Skimmer)
Libellula incesta (Slaty Skimmer)
Libellula jesseana (Purple Skimmer)
Libellula needhami (Needham’s Skimmer)
Macrodiplax balteata (Marl Pennant)
Macromia taeniolata (Royal River Cruiser)
Miathyria marcella (Hyacinth Glider)
Micrathyria aequalis (Spot-tailed Dasher)
Nehalennia integricollis (Southern Sprite)
Nehalennia pallidula (Everglades Sprite)
Orthemis ferruginea (Roseate Skimmer)
Pachydiplax longipennis (Blue Dasher)
Pantala flavescens (Wandering Glider)
Pantala hymenaea (Spot-winged Glider)
Perithemis tenera (Eastern Amberwing)
Stylurus plagiatus (Russet-tipped Clubtail)
Tramea carolina (Carolina Saddlebags)
Tramea lacerata (Black Saddlebags)
Tramea onusta (Red Saddlebags)
Triacanthagyna trifida (Phantom Darner)

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen at least 16 (indicated in red above); I’ve photographed 8 or 9 of them (and failed to ID many of the ones I’ve photographed). I’d love to find more, but to do that, I have to start getting specific. Where am I likely to find a new species? We don’t have too many rivers here in Palm Beach County, so if river cruisers require rivers, they’ll probably have to wait until my next trip up to Riverbend Park. But we have plenty of canals; do those work? I’ll have to find out.

I get several different species at my house, many more at Yamato Scrub, and dozens at Fern Forest (down in Broward County); it’s time to start getting more serious about this.

I’m thirsty; time to head to Pieria!