Aquatic Insects of Michigan

by Ethan Bright, Museum of Zoology Insect Division and School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan

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Perithemis Hagen, 1861 (Libellulidae) (Amberwings) of Michigan - Identification

Mostly a neotropical genus, one widely ranging species - Perithemis tenera (Say, 1839) - is found here in Michigan. Most records are from the southern LP, but one record is from Chippewa Co., UP.

Adults are small and brownish, with amber-tinged and brown-spotted rather stout wings witha reddish pterostigma. The face is yellowish, and legs are yellowish with black spines. Abdomen is short, stout and somewhat dorsoventrally compressed at the base. Nymphs are small and stocky with slender banded legs, and are active climbers among vegetation in ponds and slow-moving or quiet sections of streams (Needham and Westfall 2010, Walker and Corbet 1975). Morphologically, they appear almost as corduliids, with a prominent, broad abdomen with middorsal spines on Ab9 and the distal margin of the palpal crenate. Lifecycle in our area is probably univoltine (although Morin (1984) and Wissinger (1988) also lists it as bivoltine as a consequenceof artificial fish exclusion), and emergence in Michigan probably occurs during June and early July. Little is known about this species' nymphal ecology or biology.

Taxonomic references: Needham et al. 2010, Paulson 2011, Walker and Corbet 1975


Morin PJ. 1984. The impact of fish exclusion on the abundance and species composition of larval odonates: results of short-term experiments in a North Carolina farm pond. Ecology 65: 53-60.
Needham JG, Westfall MJ, May ML. 2010. Dragonflies of North America, Third Edition. Scientific Publishers, Gainesville, Florida, USA. xiv + 657 p.
Paulson D. 2011. Dragonflies and damselflies of the East. Princeton Field Guides. Princeton University Press, Pinceton, New Jersey, USA. 538 p.
Walker EM, Corbet JS. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. 3. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, Ontario. xvi + 308.
Wissinger, S.A., 1988. Spatial distribution, life history and estimates of survivorship in a fourteen- species assemblage of larval dragonflies. Freshwater Biology 20: 329-340.

Page created: July 17, 1998 - Last updated: February 19, 2017 (EB)