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DATE: Oct. 22, 2002

Campus researcher finds new species of damselfly

DEARBORN---Julie Craves, research associate in the Natural Areas at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, recently discovered the state's first record of a species of damselfly.

A small cousin of the dragonfly, the Citrine Forktail species found by Craves and fellow observer Darrin O'Brien is the smallest damselfly in the United States. The damselfly specimen will be kept at the Museum of Zoology on the Ann Arbor campus.

"This particular species is quite adaptable and so small that they can be dispersed by the wind," according to Craves. "They have a range over much of the United States, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America.

"Citrine Forktails are more rare in the northern United States and this is the first occurrence in Michigan," she added.

Craves

Craves and O'Brien found the damselfly in Lenawee County at Ives Road Fen Reserve, a Nature Conservancy property with restricted public access. Craves has special permission to work on the property. They later found a colony of Citrine Forktails in Northville, in northwest Wayne County.

The Nature Conservancy purchases threatened lands and waters to preserve plants, animals and natural communities by protecting the habitats they need to survive.

Although her research focus on campus is on birds through her work at the Rouge River Bird Observatory, Craves became interested in dragonflies and damselflies because there is still much to learn about their distribution and abundance, even in populated regions such as southeast Michigan.

Craves has found 24 species of dragonflies or damselflies that have never been found or confirmed before in Wayne County, including a new species of dragonfly for the state, the Flag-tailed Spinyleg. Craves has observed 20 of those species on campus.

Craves has published four papers on dragonflies, as well as a book and a dozen papers on birds as part of her work at the Environmental Interpretive Center. She also is contributing editor to Birder's World magazine.

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