Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly: Endangered

The Hine’s Emerald is the only dragonfly on the US endangered species list. It was placed on the Illinois State List of Endangered Species in 1991 and placed on the Federal Endangered Species List in 2005. At one time, the Hine’s emerald was probably found in Indiana. However, it has not been observed in Indiana recently. This dragonfly spends its larval life (2-4 years) in shallow wetlands. In the US, many wetlands have been drained for development, a process that has destroyed much of the habitat for this dragonfly. The Hine’s Emerald is currently confined to Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. One of the sites in Illinois is McMahon Woods, just Southwest of Midway Airport.

A $500,000 grant was recently awarded to restore habitat for the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly. This meant logging a number of trees and returning part of McMahon Woods back into McMahon marsh, the natural state of the area. The trees, in the area were a result of human intervention in the natural ecosystem. The original marshland site was converted into farms, then abandoned and allowed to grow into a woodlot. Removal of the trees have caused concern among some nearby residents who worry about habitat for birds and other wildlife. However, the trees interfere with the drainage and formation of rivulets in the soil that are the oviposition sites for the dragonflies.

Managing habitat is critical to support endangered species. It is a complicated task. People rarely agree about land use. However, attempts to preserve our biodiversity require habitat restoration.

Hines Emerald Dragonfly
Photo: Daniel Soluk, Illiniois Natural History Survey

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Environment, News, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly: Endangered

  1. Michael says:

    Nice! That is a cool picture. Those insects are certainly interesting looking. Thank you for posting this! 🙂

  2. snkpks says:

    Joel Greenberg mentions a voucher was taken from Gary, Indiana in the early 1900s so you can take the “probably” out of it having lived in Indiana at some point. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Threatened Dragonflies: Habitat matters | Living With Insects Blog

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