Here there be dragons

August 4, 2015

The kids and I logged more time in the kayak this past weekend, exploring White's Cove (the quiet set-back where the Black River meets the Connecticut River) and scouring the bridge abutments of the Black River as we sought dragonfly skins ("exuviae").  Dragonflies begin life in water, completely aquatic.  Some species live down in burrows under sandy bottom of the river, which makes their presence a good indicator of decent water quality. 




The skins are left behind as dragonfly larvae climb up out of the water, attach themselves to overhanging vegetation or a bridge abutment, split open their outer shells, and emerge from inside as a fully-developed adult.  The emergence process often takes hours (imagine having to unfold 3" long wings and an equally long tail from a 2" long skin!), during which time the fragile insect is a target for birds, fishing spiders, and a number of other predators.


When the air-breathing insect finally flies off, it leaves behind every vestige of its aquatic form -- the exuvia.  We collect them and I'm learning to identify each species with the help of odonate specialist Pam Hunt and the fine folks at the Northeast Odonate FaceBook page.


So far, we've identified 6 species on the Black River: 


Black-shouldered spinylegs

Fawn darner

Arrow clubtail

Zebra clubtail

Stygian shadowdragon

Stream cruiser


And I'm just getting started!

Please reload

Featured Posts

I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!

Please reload

Recent Posts

November 3, 2017

August 9, 2016

June 17, 2016

February 19, 2016

January 18, 2016

January 11, 2016

Please reload

Please reload

Search By Tags
Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square

© 2015 by BLACK RIVER ACTION TEAM. Proudly created with

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now