2017 THE GREAT LAKES ENTOMOLOGIST 1
Cordulegaster (Leach, 1815) is a Hol-
arctic genus of medium to large (~55 to 88
mm total length) dragonies of 34 species
worldwide (Schorr and Paulson 2017). The
common name in North America for the fam-
ily, spiketails, refers to the female ovipositor,
which is elongated, heavily sclerotized, and
looks much like a spike. The typical ovipo-
sition behavior is for the female to y with
vertical downward thrusts, inserting the ovi-
positor into the substrate at the edge of the
stream. This behavior has been described as
“pogoing,” as in one traveling vertically and
laterally with a pogo-stick. Each downward
thrust into the substrate apparently results
in an oviposition.
Nymphs typically inhabit rst and sec-
ond order woodland streams with soft sub-
strates. Nymphs partially bury themselves
in the substrate and are well-camouaged
(Dunkle 2000, Glotzhober 2006). Various
studies have indicated that nymphs of dif-
ferent Cordulegaster species have distinct
stream flow, substrate composition, and
sediment particle size requirements (Hager
et al. 2012 and references within).
Ten species of Cordulegaster are found
in North America (Paulson and Dunkle
2016), with five confirmed for Michigan:
C. bilineata (Carle), C. diastatops (Selys),
C. erronea Hagen in Selys, C. maculata
Selys, and C. obliqua (Say). Of these ve,
C. maculata is by far the most common and
widely distributed species within the state
of Michigan (Kormondy 1958, MOS 2017).
Cordulegaster erronea is found pre-
dominantly in the eastern United States;
most of the records are from the Appalachian
Mountain and mid-Atlantic regions (Abbott
2006-2017). In the Great Lakes area, this
species has been reported most frequently
in Ohio, where it has been recorded in 14
counties (ten with voucher records, OHC
2017; four with photo or observation records,
Rosche et al. 2008) and is listed as a species
of special concern (ODNR 2016). Vouchers
exist for one county in Illinois (ISM 2006,
INHS 2017). It is considered endangered in
Indiana (IGA 2014), with one voucher from
1947 (Curry 2001). C. erronea has been
found at only one site in Ontario, discovered
in 2011 (OMNR 2016), and it has not been
recorded in Wisconsin (Wisconsin Odonata
Spiketails are never “easy” to nd,
with the exception of C. maculata. As of
January 2017, the Michigan Odonata Sur-
vey Database (MOS 2007-2017) has adult
records for 191 C. maculata, 32 C. obliqua,
9 C. bilineata, 29 C. diastatops, and 3 C.
erronea. Nymph and exuviae records are
relatively numerous (245+) for C. maculata,
with only ve for C. obliqua. Much of the
nymph data for C. maculata has been the
result of incidental bycatch during ichthy-
ological research. Cordulegaster maculata
has been found in third-order streams, and
hence, found in more samples. The other
species appear to have preference for small
creeks and seepage runs that are much more
difcult to nd and sample for nymphs.
In Michigan, C. erronea Hagen has
been an enigmatic species. Kormondy (1958)
listed a C. erronea record for Marquette
County. However, it was based upon An-
drews (1929), who listed “possible” species
Selys (Tiger Spiketail) Rediscovered in
Michigan (Odonata: Cordulegastridae)
Mark F. O’Brien1*, Darrin S. O’Brien2, and Julie A. Craves3
1Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 3600 Varsity Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
2Prairie Oaks Ecological Station, 2200 Centennial Lane, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.
3Rouge River Bird Observatory, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI 48128.
Cordulegaster erronea Hagen in Selys (Tiger Spiketail) has been included on the list
of Michigan Odonata based on one specimen collected in 1934. In 2016, the species was
found in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. It is the least abundant Cordulegaster species in
Michigan, and the habitat requirements in Michigan are compared with known C. erronea
habitats in Ohio and New Jersey.
*Corresponding author: (e-mail: mfobrien@umich.
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2 THE GREAT LAKES ENTOMOLOGIST Vol. 50, Nos. 1–2
to be found in the Huron Mountains. That
record was refuted in O’Brien et al. (2003).
The only other record for the state (Fig.1)
was a female collected by Leonora Gloyd on
27 July 1934 from “Rhead’s Creek inlet, to
Silver Lake,” Oceana County, in west-central
Michigan, within 3 km of Lake Michigan
(MOS001630). Given the source (Van Brink
and Kiauta 1977), the veracity of the record
was never in doubt but was thought to be
Figure 1. Cordulegaster erronea, female specimen collected in 1934.
Figure 2. Cordulegaster erronea male from Fort Custer Training Center, 3 July 2016.
Author's personal copy
2017 THE GREAT LAKES ENTOMOLOGIST 3
anomalous, given that it was far off the
known range of the species. Prior to 2016,
the nearest records to the Oceana County
site were >350 km away (Abbott 2006-2017).
Based on this single veried record, it is list-
ed as a species of special concern in Michigan
On 3 July 2016, MFO and DSO were
searching for Tachopteryx thoreyi (Hagen),
Gray Petaltail, at the Fort Custer Training
Center, a military base in Kalamazoo and
Calhoun counties in southwest Michigan.
Mid-morning searches were conducted along
a two-track adjacent to numerous seepage
areas and small creeks in the Kalamazoo
County portion of the base. Several attempts
were made to secure spiketails, but they
were too high up on branches. Farther down
the road, another spiketail was observed
hunting in low vegetation in a small clear-
ing above a seepage area. The rst netted
specimen was a male C. erronea 50 m down
the roadside (Fig. 2). Based upon the vivid
yellow markings, we assume the previously
sighted individuals were also C. erronea. A
few meters farther down the road a second
male was captured while it was perched on a
small dead shrub ~1 m above the ground. At
least two more C. erronea individuals were
seen. Later, a female C. erronea (Fig. 3) was
captured, photographed, and released on the
hillside above the seeps. According to Dunkle
(2000), adults perching on twigs out of reach
ts well with our observations.
The habitat of the area surrounding
the collection sites was Dry-Mesic Southern
Forest above the sandy two-track, with
Southern Hardwood Swamp at the base
of the hill. Seeps are numerous, and the
resulting streams ow into a Southern Wet
meadow (Cohen et al. 2009). Paulson (2011)
described the habitat for C. erronea as “small
forest streams and seeps, with skunk cab-
bage and interrupted fern.” In New Jersey,
Barlow (1995) reported that this species
was found only in very small (<0.3 m wide),
forested, perennial cold-water streams free
of substantial organic debris with a substrate
of ne sand. Glotzhober (2006) studied the
life history of C. erronea in Ohio, and dense-
ly wooded narrow and shallow rst-order
streams appear to be the preferred nymphal
habitat. Of interest is the contrast of these
habitats with southern Michigan, where hills
are glacial till or old lake dunes, and not
bedrock uplands like those in Ohio and New
Jersey. Consequently, the ow into Michigan
seeps tends to be less consistent, and may be
a limiting factor in maintaining populations
of seep-inhabiting species.
Groundwater seepages in the area
where we found C. erronea need further
exploration to determine the actual nymph
Figure 3. Cordulegaster erronea female from Fort Custer Training Center, 3 July 2016 (released after
Author's personal copy
4 THE GREAT LAKES ENTOMOLOGIST Vol. 50, Nos. 1–2
habitat at Fort Custer. Of concern is the
potential effect of any clearing of forest from
headwaters where the females oviposit and
the subsequent nymphal habitat.
The comprehensive study of C. erronea
in New Jersey by Moscowitz (2016) provides
a great deal of information on the ecology and
behavior of this species, which will be useful
in searching for additional populations in
Michigan and elsewhere.
Voucher specimens reside in the
Museum of Zoology, University of Michi-
gan. The 2016 specimen data is as follows:
MICHIGAN: Kalamazoo Co., Fort Custer
Reserve Training Center, S of Mott Road,
along 2-track at wood’s edge. 42.2938 x
-85.32623, JULY 3, 2016. Mark F. O’Brien,
coll. MFO-160703-1, MOS0036933; MICHI-
GAN: Kalamazoo Co., Fort Custer Reserve
Training Center, S of Mott Road, 42.2936
x -85.3264, JULY 3, 2016, Darrin O’Brien,
We thank Ray Adams for his help
in allowing us access to the natural areas
at Fort Custer Training Center, and for
encouraging us to examine the habitats for
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