Macromia illinoiensis - male specimenOdonata from Pawnee Prairie Park in Wichita

Sedgwick County

A Web Page by Roy J. Beckemeyer (send mail to royb at
Last Updated: 27 January 2004

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).  

Argia apicalis maleSections of the creek may be found to be home to the Calopterygidae (Broadwing Damselflies) Calopteryx maculata (The Ebony Jewelwing) and Hetaerina americana (American Rubyspot).  

The pond damsel, Argia apicalis, The Blue-fronted Dancer (right), is often present along and on the concrete walking paths in great abundance.  

Clubtails collected here consistently include Gomphus (Gomphurus) externus (below, right) and Progomphus obscurus (below, left)  Later in the season, Stylurus plagiatus can be found patrolling the area below the low-water crossing.

Progomphus obscurus









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.

Gomphus externus femaleOn 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.)

Cowskin Creek at low water crossing, Pawnee Prairie ParkThe 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.


Indian Grass and Big Bluestem prairie


The pictures below right and left show male and female Libellula lydia specimens in dorsal view, then in lateral view.


Libellula (Plathemis) lydia male







Libellula (Plathemis) lydia female






Libellula (Plathemis) lydia male



Libellula (Plathemis) lydia femaleAlthough 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.


Enallagma exsulans male






Enallagma exsulans femaleEnallagma exsulans pair in copula


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.





styplamd2002.JPG (58507 bytes)Left: A male gomphid, Stylurus plagiatus, collected in August, 2002 on COwskin Creek in Pawnee Prairie Park.






nasiaeschna2003md.JPG (50023 bytes)Right: In July, 2003, this male Cyrano Darner (Nasiaeschna pentacantha) was flying around over a shaded pool on Cowskin Creek.


spidercapture2z.JPG (71176 bytes)

Left: Also taken in 2003 (August), this photo shows a spider with a captured female American Rubyspot.




(These visits made in July & August, 2000 and July, 2003.)

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