Larvae of theare found in large rivers with clear, fast-flowing, and unpolluted running waters and substrates of fine sand or pea sized gravel. The medium to large sized rivers range from 10 meters to 200 meters wide with fine substrate stream beds. Larvae do not occur in areas below dams, since the species is unable to breed at such deep depths. They are typically found at depths of 1 to 4 m.
Similar to other dragonfly species, larvae of Ophiogomphus by their small size (19 to 22 mm in length), by their lack of dorsal abdominal spines, and absence of lateral hooks on the abdominal segment 7. The abdominal region also shows long cerci, which are a pair of upper appendages at the tip of segment 10 at the end of the abdomen.are flat, brown, and have divergent wing cases. Larvae can easily be identified from other members of the genus
The mature nymph ofis greenish brown in color with a body covered with coarse granules to help it blend into the river bottom. Earlier instars have more of a yellowish-brown body. The body length is on average 20.5 mm, abdominal width 5.6 mm, and head width 4.7 mm.
The adults of Ophiogomphus genus as the common name of "pygmy snaketail dragonfly" implies, and is one of the smaller dragonflies in North America with a hind-wing length of 19 to 21 mm and abdomen length of 22 to 24 mm. The adults have distinctive markings and coloration showing a bright green thorax, vivid yellow markings on the dorsal abdomen, and each wing is marked basally with a large, transparent yellow-orange patch. In the teneral stage, the thoracic markings are yellow for up to seven days.are the smallest (31 to 37 mm long) members of the
Compared to other dragonflies of this genus thehas a greater flared abdomen. The female resembles the male except for its thicker abdomen, reduced flare, lack of secondary genitalia, presence of an ovipositor, and different number and shape of the abdominal appendages. The inner or basal portions of the hind-wings are yellow (basal half of the hind-wings in males, basal two-thirds of the hind-wings in females). The abdomen is described as having a "clubtail" since it is slightly widened at the end.
The abdomen is black in color with small, yellow spots on top that are triangular in shape and of various sizes. All abdominal segments have a yellow, triangular spot on top except for the last segment at the posterior end of the abdomen (segment 10). The eyes of this dragonfly are similar to other dragonfly species, colored green and do not meet at the top of the head. Females can be distinguished from males because they have a short, sharp horn on each side of the rear of the head. (Brunelle, 2008; Hamill, 2013; Kennedy and White III, 1979; Lee, 2009; "Ophiogomphus howei - Bromley, 1924", 2013; Tennessen, 1993)
exhibits hemimetabolous metamorphosis, meaning a gradual development with three distinct stages that somewhat resemble one another and lacks a pupal stage. Stages for the life cycle includes an aquatic egg, aquatic larva, and a terrestrial/aerial adult. As with most dragonflies, the spends most of its life as an aquatic larva. After the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into gravel or sand substrates where they grow and develop. As the larvae grow, they shed or molt their skin numerous times. Most dragonfly species transform into adults in one to three years. A few studies have indicated the may have a two-year life cycle.
At the end of their larval development, the larvae climb out of the water and attach themselves to vegetation, rocks, tree roots, woody debris, bare ground, or other structures or surfaces located along the stream banks or floating in the water as they transform into the adult stage. The larvae undergo a final molt and emerge as winged adults. Newly emerged adults, or tenerals, typically remain perched for one or two hours to dry their wings before they can fly. Adult dragonflies become sexually mature within a week or up to a month after emergence. (Bradeen and Boland, 2004; Lee, 2009; "The University of Arizona Center for Insect Science Education Outreach", 1997)
After mating, females lay their eggs in riffles or rapids in streams and rivers by dipping their abdomen in the moving water. The eggs are carried by the water and are deposited in spaces in the rock, gravel, and/or sand substrate of the stream or river. Adult (Bradeen and Boland, 2004; Lee, 2009)are observed occasionally at breeding sites, but generally are not seen as frequently or in large numbers after the adult emergence period compared to other dragonfly species. This issue leads to a lack of current information on the number of offspring produced per breeding season and other reproductive information. Studies like the one by Gibbs et. al. (2004) indicates that the likely requires two or more years to complete a generation. It also likely has overlapping generations and produces more than one brood or generation per year.
As with most dragonflies, the (Lee, 2009)spends most of its life as an aquatic larva. The overall lifespan for is dependent on larval and nymph stages which is highly variable due to vulnerability to birds, frogs, lizards, fish, and other large dragonflies, weather, and pollution. The time required for larvae to develop into adults is currently not known. Most dragonfly species transform into adults in one to three years. In general, adult dragonflies typically live for approximately one month, and up to nine months to a year in a few species.
Adult dragonflies need sunny warm weather to fly, with a temperature over 65°C ideal. During inclement weather such as cold and rainy days, (Hammond, 2014)tends to hide or lay in vegetation. Adult male dragonflies often establish territories along the edges of ponds or streams and only defend the territory against other males of their species. The larval and nymph stages of are mainly solitary within a river or stream, but they may travel within the river or stream over the span of the species life.
Predators of adult dragonflies include birds, frogs, lizards, fish, and other large dragonflies. When the dragonfly has use of its wings, it is quick and agile in flight, and hides in vegetation when it is too cold to fly. The (Hammond, 2014; Lee, 2009)species has adapted bright markings and a "clubtail" which most likely serves to warn off predators. Adult also have high mortality rates due to human disturbance or environmental factors such as wind/rain after the initial hatching time when the wings of the dragonfly are wet for one or two hours. The coloration of larvae likely serves as camouflage in its aquatic habitat.
There are no known adverse effects ofon humans.
Threats to the majority of the (Abbott and Donnelly, 2013)in the northern range are moderate, but habitat threats to populations in the south appear to be more significant. These potential threats to habitat degradation can account from human activities that ruin running waters through poorly drained roads, damming, and also natural activities such as beaver damming, channelization leading to scour of microhabitats, toxic or organic pollution, and introductions of exotic species. The majority of reproduction which includes migration is effected by climate and weather and will be potentially impacted with rapid climate changes.
Brock Bermel (author), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Robert Sorensen (editor), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Angela Miner (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
fertilization takes place within the female's body
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
digs and breaks up soil so air and water can get in
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
uses sight to communicate
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