Perithemis tenera femaleOdonata from "The Creek" (Bill Watson property) - Butler County, Kansas.

A Web Page by Roy J. Beckemeyer (send mail to royb at
Last Updated: 17 September 2001

Summer 2000 / Summer 2001

In sampling for insect diversity at Mr. Watson's property, I waded Rock Creek (Below right) for Odonata.  Many skimmers (Libellula lydia) were on the slow reaches, and this pretty little Perithemis tenera (Eastern Amberwing) female (above right) was in the vegetation along the bank.  The Amberwing is the smallest dragonfly (Anisoptera) species in Kansas.  Numerous Ebony Jewelwings were on the overhanging grasses and shaded understory along the creek.  (Calopteryx maculata, male shown below left.)  
Rock Creek, Butler Co. KS

Flying over the open prairie was the turquoise-eyed, spotted-winged corduliid Epitheca princeps, The Prince Baskettail.

Calopteryx maculata male

Patrolling the creek were at least one species each of Macromiinae (Cruisers) and Aeshnidae (Darners).  I did not get close enough to capture or get a definitive look at the darners, but a female, ovipositing into a piece of woody vegetation, looked like she may have been Nasiaeschna pentacantha. (?)

The cruiser was the Gilded River Cruiser, Macromia pacifica (below).  It is noticeably more yellow-gold in color than the Illinois River Cruiser, which presents more of a dark impression, as it flies swiftly up or down stream on the creek.  See the Pawnee Prairie Odonata page for a picture of M. illinoiensis

Macromia pacifica maleThe Cruisers are very swift fliers, and netting them is sort of like hitting a fast ball - it isn't easy.  Fortunately, if you miss, you will still get another chance later, as the males generally travel back and forth along reaches of the streams, although sometimes at rather long intervals.  Females will often move more slowly along the water at the bank's edge, looking for oviposition sites. 

Along the sunnier stretches of the creek on a visit in mid-August, there were Hetaerina americana damselflies flying.  At the edges between the shade and sunlit bank, both C. maculata and  H. americana were flying together.  In sampling in a small run below a sunny pool, I found H. americana nymphs in the root tangles along the bank.  The photo below left is one of the nymphs (photo taken by transferring the nymph to a small aquarium).

Hetaerina americana (American Rubyspot damselfly) larvaPictures of adult Hetaerina americana can be found on the Arkansas River odonata page.

Also flying in mid-August were the libellulids Pantala flavescens, Sympetrum corruptum, and Tramea lacerata, and the aeshnid Anax junius.  All of these were flying and feeding over the pasture and along the woods lining the creek.


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Gomphus graslinellus - a specialty of the central USSummer 2001:

11 June.  Much Odonata activity along the creek and in the adjacent fields.  Damselflies were quite busy, with Calopteryx maculata males and females on the creek, and males doing their territorial defense flying.  Hetaerina americana males and females were also on the water and were defending perches overlooking the stream.  Argia fumipennis violacea males and females were resting in the grasses along the stream bank.  Argia moesta seen in tandem, in copula, and ovipositing in small groups.  Ischnura posita flying in the sedges along the stream.

In the newly mown brome grass field there were many Gomphidae perched on the ground or in the grass at the edge of the mown area.  Three species were collected, most either very fresh or newly emerged:  Gomphus militaris (4 m, 1 f), Gomphus graslinellus (3 m, 4 f) , and Gomphus externus (5 m, 4 f).  

Gomphus graslinellus female

Also seen and/or collected were: Libellula luctuosa and Libellula lydia. The coenagrionid damselfly, Enallagma exsulans was common along the creek, and many males as well as tandem pairs were seen.  This species is a common stream-dwelling damselfly in this area.

Below left and right are photos of the Coenagrionidae: Enallagma exsulans.  Shown are a male in flight and a tandem pair in flight.  The edges of the creek were filled with E. exsulans mating and ovipositing.  

Photo of Enallaagma exsulans in flight - Roy BeckemeyerEnallagma exsulans in flight - photo by Roy Beckemeyer



Argia fumipennis violocea - photo by Roy Beckemeyer

Left: Male Argia fumipennis violacea perched on vegetation beside creek.  At this time there were none of this species seen at the water - males and females were staying in the heavy grass and brush bordering the creek.


Calopteryc maculata in copula - photo by Jim Mason
On 11 August, 2001, the Ark Valley Butterfly Club had a field trip to The Creek.  Jim Mason took the following photograph of Calopteryx maculata mating.  Other Odonata seen on this trip included Hetaerina americana, Argia apicalis, Argia moesta, Erythemis simpicicollis, Libellula luctuosa, L. lydia, and L. pulchella.



For an in-work list of the insects of "The Creek" click on the link:


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