1 October 1998 Massive Swarm Migrations of Dragonflies (Odonata) in Eastern North America
Robert W. Russell, Michael L. May, Kenneth L. Soltesz, John W. Fitzpatrick
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We describe massive autumn migrations of dragonflies (Odonata) which occurred at Chicago, Illinois (14 September 1978), Cape May, New Jersey (11 September 1992), and Crescent Beach, Florida (3–5 September 1993). Estimated numbers of migrant dragonflies involved in these flights were approximately 1.2 million, >400,000, and 200,000, respectively. We also document other recent observations of large swarm migrations of dragonflies in eastern North America, review previous reports of this phenomenon, and compare these events to the flights at Chicago, Cape May and Crescent Beach. Records of large dragonfly migrations show several distinct patterns: (1) all reports fell between late July and mid-October, with a peak in September; (2) most of the large flights occurred along topographic leading lines such as coastlines and lakeshores; (3) massive swarm migrations generally followed the passage of synoptic-scale cold fronts; and (4) the common green darner (Anax junius) was the principal species involved in the majority of these flights. Striking parallels between the patterns of seasonal timing, geographical distribution, and meteorological context of dragonfly migrations and those of birds suggest that similar causal factors are involved.

Robert W. Russell, Michael L. May, Kenneth L. Soltesz, and John W. Fitzpatrick "Massive Swarm Migrations of Dragonflies (Odonata) in Eastern North America," The American Midland Naturalist 140(2), 325-342, (1 October 1998). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(1998)140[0325:MSMODO]2.0.CO;2
Received: 11 August 1997; Accepted: 1 December 1997; Published: 1 October 1998
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