This park, traversed by Cowskin Creek, and consisting of a large expanse of tallgrass prairie, has an interesting dragonfly fauna. It is a consistent site for the wonderful Illinois River Cruiser, Macromia illinoiensis (above, a male).
The pond damsel, Argia apicalis, The Blue-fronted Dancer (right), is often present along and on the concrete walking paths in great abundance.
These male clubtails patrol the water at heights of a few
inches to a foot or so, and watch for females coming to the water to oviposit.
When one shows up, the male attempts to seize her and mate. Below left is a
female G. externus.
The next photo shows some Big Bluestem tallgrass in the
prairie portion of the creek. Here a number of Anax junius (Common
Green Darners) were flying, and many male and female Common Whitetails (Libellula
(Plathemis) lydia) would fly up out of their perches in the grasses as we
On a return trip to Pawnee Prairie in mid August, the clubtails were absent in the morning, and the cruisers were fewer in number. The photo below right shows Cowskin Creek near the low water crossing on the paved trail through the park. (My yellow lab, Joey, an experienced dragonfly hunter, is pursuing a Macromia illinoiensis male up the creek.)
The next photo shows some Big Bluestem tallgrass in the prairie portion of the creek. Here a number of Anax junius (Common Green Darners) were flying, and many male and female Common Whitetails (Libellula (Plathemis) lydia) would fly up out of their perches in the grasses as we walked along.
The pictures below right and left show male and female Libellula lydia specimens in dorsal view, then in lateral view.
Although there were many Argia apicalis along the creek and the walkways in the park, there was another Coenagrionid damselfly species, Enallagma exsulans, including a number of copulating pairs. They were found almost exclusively in the grasses along the edge of the creek. Below are views of male and female E. exsulans.
At the right is a photo of Enallagma exsulans in copula taken on the same day that the specimens depicted in the scans were collected.
(These visits made in July & August, 2000 and July, 2003.)