MDP Newsletters

Monthly e-Newsletters


November 2015. Dragonflies: Famed in Song and Story
For centuries, dragonflies have been entwined in cultural legends and beliefs, and an inspiration for art and song. The significance of dragonflies in human culture continues to this day. Read more

October 2015. Counting calories: Fat storage and energy needs in migratory dragonflies
Despite their alien appearance, beneath their glossy exoskeletons insects have a lot in common with humans, and nutrition is no exception. Dragonflies may not binge on snacks (unless perhaps mosquitoes are the Doritos of the insect world), but there's no doubt that a proper food base is critically important throughout these high-powered predators' lives. Though migrant dragonflies can feed along the way, and may conserve energy at times by gliding instead of flapping, the distances they cover require an enormous energy input. Read more

September 2015. ID dragonflies and locate hotspots: Introducing the new Dragonfly ID app
Are you a nature enthusiast who wants to learn more about the dragonfly and damselfly fauna in your own backyard or at your favorite local wetland? Well now you can! Brought to you by the creators of the popular BirdsEye apps--and made possible through a collaboration between OdonataCentral, the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, the Xerces Society, and the generosity of individual donors--this pocket guide will allow naturalists in the field to find dragonfly hotspots and identify and learn more about the species they see. Read more

August 2015. Libélulas migratorias: Pronatura Veracruz expands dragonfly education in México
MDP partner Pronatura Veracruz works throughout Mexico to conserve plants, animals, and habitats. Their location places them directly in the path of one of the greatest raptor flyways in the world, which is also used by millions of dragonflies each year. Their staff have learned a lot about dragonflies--and now they regularly conduct outreach and education events to local schoolchildren.  Read more

July 2015. Meet the neighbors: Rediscovering "Common" Odonates in Urban Habitats
Most people live in urban environments and the animals we see daily, including odonates, are those adapted to living with humans or exploiting remaining patches of suitable habitat. Even in our urban world, created and restored habitat can provide the elements needed by dragonflies and damselflies and help increase their diversity and abundance. Read more

May 2015. Dragonfly Society of the Americas (DSA) Regional Meeting--Central America
This June the DSA will be convening in Costa Rica for the Society's first-ever Central America meeting. The focus will be on field excursions to explore the local odonate fauna at two research stations; one in the Caribbean lowlands of northern Costa Rica and the other on the Pacific slopes of northwestern Costa Rica. Read more

April 2015. "Know how to listen..." -Plutarch: Results from the Survey are in!
Success of the MDP is due in large part to our citizen scientist volunteers, who dedicate their valuable time to help us investigate dragonfly migration in North America. Read more

February 2015. A Dragonfly's-Eye View of MDP & Citizen Science--Annual Meeting Sets the Stage for 2015       MDP steering committee members met in Portland, Oregon the 18th and 19th of February 2015 to reflect on an impressive suite of accomplishments since inception of the program in 2011, and to cultivate new ideas and outline plans to expand and grow our network of citizen scientists. Read more

January 2015. Don't Put all Your Eggs in One Basket: Oviposition
Given the diversity of dragonfly and damselfly species, it's no surprise that they also lay their eggs in a variety of ways. Many odonate species scatter or place their eggs in several different places within suitable habitat to better hedge their reproductive bets. Read more


December 2014. A View Through the Eye of a Dragonfly
Vision is an integral part of the lives of many animals, and insects are no exception. Although insects may often be seen as "simple" creatures, many possess sophisticated vision that helps them locate and capture food, find mates, and avoid predators. Read more

November 2014. Migration: Life Marches On
The striking displays of annual animal migrations are eagerly observed by many. Migration as a behavioral phenomenon is difficult to measure and interpret, and as we stand on the threshold of new discoveries about dragonfly migration can we glean some insights from other animal migrants whose migration routes and destinations are already revealed? Read more

October 2014. The Flight of the Dragonfly
Dragonflies have been perfecting their flight for millions of years. As another migration season closes, we consider one of the most remarkable features of these insects--their large, multi-veined transparent wings. Read more

September 2014. Hawk counters contribute to our understanding of dragonfly migration
As hundreds of thousands of eagles, hawks, and vultures make their annual journeys from Canada and the United States to southern overwintering grounds, many of the dedicated observers ascending to Hawk Watch sites throughout North America to document their travels are also recording coincident migratory dragonfly observations. Read more

August 2014. Migration season begins.... least for the birds and Monarch butterflies that are already being seen assembling and moving south as summer fades into fall. Though few directional flights have been reported, there have been numerous reports in the past few weeks of members of our top five migrant species seen in feeding swarms or as newly emerged tenerals. Are the Common Green Darners (Anax junius) and Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) observed in local swarms merely residents feeding on a bounty of midges and mosquitoes, or are they migrants amassing their reserves for the long trek south? Read more

July 2014. Visitar la Casa de Agua: MDP Worshops in Tabasco, Mexico
During the week of July 14th, MDP Project Coordinator Celeste Mazzacano (Xerces Society) and co-chair John Abbott (St. Edward's University) joined steering committee member Elisa Peresbarbosa Rojas (Pronatura Veracruz) to present workshops on dragonfly migration at the beautiful Pantanos de Centla in Tabasco in southeast Mexico. This area of Mexico is important for dragonfly migration. Thanks to the monitoring work done by MDP partner Pronatura Veracruz, we know that large annual flights of migratory dragonflies occur in this region every year, in conjunction with the annual raptor migration. Read more

June 2014. Developing an Obsession with Odonata
The The MDP's Project Coordinator, Celeste Mazzacano, just returned from a delightful week in Wisconsin attending the annual meeting of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas (DSA). DSA meetings are largely an excuse for a bunch of dragonflyers (also known as ode-ers) of all ages and levels of experience to gallop around the countryside photographing, netting, and identifying every odonate they can get close to. Read more

May 2014. Emergence and Pond Watch: Where migrants and residents come together
Migratory dragonflies have been moving north for several weeks in North America, mating and laying eggs as they go. And, with the arrival of sustained warmer weather, resident dragonflies that overwintered as nymphs are also beginning to emerge as adults. As overwintering nymphs become active again, search the vegetation and other substrates around your local pond for an opportunity to witness dragonfly emergence. Read more

April 2014. Backyard Ponds: Guidelines for creating and maintaining habitat to attract dragonflies and damselflies
Ponds provide living space for a diverse assemblage of wildlife and creating, protecting, and restoring ponds provides essential habitat for dragonflies and damselflies, and other animals in landscapes where wetlands are increasing scarce or absent. To help homeowners create their own backyard pond habitat, the MDP has released a new guide with information on ways to create, manage, and maintain backyard habitat to attract dragonflies and damselfliesRead more

February 2014. Onward and Upward - Annual meeting establishes 2014 goals
The MDP's Annual Steering Committee Meeting in Austin, Texas celebrated the accomplishments of the past year, reported on ongoing research projects, examined citizen science data, and established goals for 2014. Look for new developments this year that will help make participation more fun and rewarding. Read more

January 2014. MDP Participant Survey - Ensuring continued success in dragonfly migration monitoring
The MDP Year-End survey was well-received, with 150 volunteers from around North America providing feedback about MDP projects and resources. Your comments and suggestions help us to better understand the motivations and needs of MDP project participants and continue to improve our citizen scientist tools, resources, and cross-border outreach in the coming year. Read more


December 2013. Site Sharing - A new way to connect with other MDP volunteers
The MDP is hard at work rolling out new web site updates. Feedback from our volunteers is guiding development of new web tools to help foster communication and cultivate new connections between other dedicated volunteers. Newly instituted changes will enable participants to create a member profile, share email addresses (if desired), and make their monitoring site a Shared Locality that multiple users can add to their Locality lists. Read more

November 2013. Settling in for Winter
Insects have evolved many methods to deal with the cold. Some take refuge in numbers, such as honeybees that cluster together in hives, vibrating their wings and eating stored honey; others hibernate as adults, like Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) butterflies and lady beetles. But adult dragonflies can't survive a cold winter--so what's an odonate to do when things get frosty? Read more

October 2013. Dragonfly Migration in Mexico (Migración de libélulas en México)
In the course of many years of raptor observations, MDP partner Pronatura Veracruz have also noted the regular and concurrent movement of thousands of migrating dragonflies, and for the past two years, they have been collecting data on dragonfly migration as part of the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership. Since late summer, they have been scanning the skies for migrating dragonflies, and the results for August and September are in. Read more

September 2013. West Coast migrants (finally) on the move
As reports of migrating dragonflies rolled in from the eastern and Midwestern portions of the continent, those of us on the West Coast waited and wondered, "Where are our Variegated Meadowhawks?!?". That question was answered at the beginning of September, when they began flying down the coast in what appeared to be record numbers. Read more

August 2013. Migration season ramps up in North America: The stages of migration
Migration season is upon us and reports from around North America tell us that dragonflies are massing on the wing from Canada to Texas. Citizen science reports are integral to our understanding of this phenomenon. Read more

July 2013. Four Wings, Will Travel: Partnerships in migration monitoring
The aerial association between migrating birds and dragonflies has led to a different kind of association on the ground—a new collaboration between MDP and the Hawk Migration Association of North America. Read more

June 2013. Connecting with volunteers: Increasing our understanding of migratory connectivity
Connecting with volunteers using various types of social media is helping to further the MDP's understanding of dragonfly migration and the connectivity of different migratory species across North America. Read more

May 2013. Return of the Common Green Darner in North America
Common Green Darners may be the first dragonflies spotted in northern climates during spring in North America. Citizen Scientist volunteers are helping the MDP track the movement of Common Green Darners and four other species as they migrate north in the spring. Read more

April 2013. Migratory Dragonfly Short Courses: Engaging volunteers in citizen science
Migratory Dragonfly Short Courses educate participants about dragonflies and their migration and provide the resources and training they need to join other citizen scientists in monitoring and identifying dragonflies across the US, Mexico, and Canada. Read more

March 2013. Dragonfly Pond Watch: MDP's most popular citizen science project gears up for spring
As spring moves northward keep an eye out for migrating dragonflies. Become a Pond Watch volunteer today and help us learn more about the mysteries of dragonfly migration. Read more

Annual Citizen Science Reports

2013. Taking Flight. It was a year of much activity and expansion for the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership's volunteer projects in 2013. The MDP is pleased to share all the news about our progress, program updates, and plans for 2014 with our volunteers and partners in this 2nd issue of Taking Flight, our annual report to MDP volunteers. Read more

2012. Taking Flight. In 2012 we celebrated a number of firsts. From field guides to Twitter to facebook pages and the launch of the MDP website. Our first annual newsletter, Taking Flight, shares our accomplishments, plans for the future, and the information gathered from citizen scientists. Read more

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