Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rick Nirschl discovers new U.S. dragonfly

Photo: Rick Nirschl

Rick's done it again. Mr. Nirschl, of Toledo, Ohio, made the above photograph last Tuesday, December 18th, in Mission, Texas. Rick has taken to migrating south to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for the winter, and just as he routinely does here in his home state, he makes amazing finds in the Lone Star State.

The dragonfly in the photo is a tropical species of dragonlet known as Erythrodiplax fervida. I wish I could also cite a good English name for the beast, but it doesn't seem to have one. Rick was working the grounds around the National Butterfly Center when he spotted this dragonlet, which was unfamiliar to him. He didn't know it with good reason - no Erythrodiplax fervida had previously been seen in the United States! Within a day or so Rick had figured it out and Voila! Another new species for the United States.

This isn't Rick Nirschl's first major Texas find. Back in February of 2008, he discovered the first U.S. record of Slender Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga praecox. In March 2009 he outdid himself by discovering a previously undescribed species of dragonfly in the Big Thicket area of Texas, which has since been named the Sarracenia Spiketail, Cordulegaster sarracenia. And Rick shall forever be immortalized in the bird world by finding the first U.S. record of Bare-throated Tiger-Heron at Bentsen State Park in the Rio Grande Valley on December 21, 2009. The heron lingered well into 2010, and was seen by scores of birders. CLICK HERE for photos of that bird.

Congratulations once again to Rick on a fantastic find! If you're interested, Rick and I are co-leading an expedition for the Toledo Naturalists' Association on July 20th, and it should be quite the natural history free-for-all. We'll be visiting some very cool locales near Lake Erie, and all of the details are RIGHT HERE.

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