Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Red-tailed Pennant - Murray County


While conducting a bird survey in southwest Murray County, Max Medley and I stumbled across  Georgia's second record for the Red-tailed Pennant (Brachymeseia furcata). This dragonfly is a tropical species with most US records originating in the southern portions of Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Claifornia. Apparently, it has been expanding northward over the last few years.  Giff Beaton discovered Georgia's first in July of 2009 in Fulton County. Here is a photograph of that specimen on Beaton's excellent website: 

Max and I first observed this pennant on September 12th, 2012. There were three adult males and one juvenile male present. They were found along the shoreline of a large reservoir. We have since observed this species again at this location on three more occasions. We have not been able to estimate the size of the entire population. The total length of the shoreline here is approximately 2.75 miles.  We have only walked a small portion of the lakeside, but have observed at least ten individuals in all. It's a beautiful skimmer and we were excited to happen across it. This is the most northern record in the eastern United States thus far. Considering that there are juveniles here, would suggest that there is a reproducing population here. If this assumption continues to be supported by future observations, this would constitute Georgia's first known thriving population of Red-tailed Pennant.

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