Where are all my odes?

So far, this has been an incredibly dry and hot summer, but that hasn't necessarily stopped the dragonflies from showing up in the past. This is Texas, it's always hot and usually dry, unless it's flooded. This summer, however, I feel like I'm seeing fewer species of dragonflies (and almost no butterflies- where are those guys?) and fewer numbers of the species I am seeing. Usually, on my favorite trails, there are plenty of eastern pondhawks and common whitetails; this year, I'm seeing them but not as many. I've only seen one or two roseate skimmers since the February 2021 Snowmageddon. The spring plains clubtails definitely weren't as plentiful as they've been in the past.

Don't get me wrong; I'm still finding some great dragonflies- a flame skimmer several weeks ago, common sanddragons in a hidden stream in a little suburban pond/fishing spot, some lovely cobra clubtails. A few days ago I found a gorgeous regal darner that basically flew up in front of me and settled nicely for the camera. But it seems like this year the dragonflies are later to appear and there are fewer of them.

Is it me? Am I imagining something that isn't there? Is it the drought? The heat (I don't think it's the heat)? Is it a lingering effect of the legendary February 2021 Icemageddon, or the not quite as legendary but still very cold (for this Texan, anyway) 2022 Icemageddon? Am I losing my dragonfly hunting skills, such as they are? I will admit that my vision isn't quite what it was a decade ago. I hope this isn't a sign of summers to come.

Publicado el julio 7, 2022 12:32 MAÑANA por jblinde jblinde


I've noticed the same thing. Not as many in my backyard or out in the woods, both butterflies and odes.. Same with birds. "Silent Spring" is really happening? Hopefully only a glitch and we'll see more once it cools off or rains.

Publicado por naturemom hace casi 2 años

Food for thought: insects go through life-history events based on something called growing degree days. It's not really a day, but more of heat accumulation thru time. If we have a shift, or greater temperatures, then it could be throwing off the schedule of the insects. For instance, and I will be making up numbers: let's say it talks a grasshopper 193 growing degree days to turn from an egg to a first instar adult. In a 'normal year' let's say that happens around May 30th. But, if the particular year is hotter than normal, perhaps we reach the 193 growing degree day mark by May 10th. That would mean the grasshopper would undergo metamorphosis earlier that year.

So, maybe your dragonflies are on a slightly ramped up schedule this year? Just one consideration. Water availability and habitat degradation due to heat may be another. Sampling bias another.

I too have noticed less butterflies and visitors to my flowerbeds this year.

Publicado por baxter-slye hace casi 2 años

I’m seeing a lot fewer butterflies, bees, and other insects as well.

Publicado por observerjosh hace casi 2 años

01/01/2021 to 07/09/2021 had 2575 growing degree days; 01/01/2022 to 07/09/2022 is 2729 growing degree days at base 50 F. Not as much as a difference as I had expected with this heat this year.

Publicado por baxter-slye hace casi 2 años

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