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Adult tiger spiketail (Cordulegaster erronea Hagen) habitat use and home range observed via radio-telemetry with conservation recommendations

Moskowitz, David, May, Michael
Journal of insect conservation 2017 v.21 no.5-6 pp. 885-895
Anisoptera (Odonata), adults, breeding, canopy, females, forests, habitat conservation, habitats, home range, males, oviposition, radio telemetry, radio transmitters, seepage, spring, streams, New Jersey
The Tiger Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster erronea Hagen) is geographically restricted to the eastern half of North America, patchily distributed within the range and a habitat specialist of small spring and seepage fed headwater streams running through mature forest. These habitats are highly sensitive to disturbance and the Tiger Spiketail is of conservation concern throughout most of its range. Yet little is known about the habitat use of either sex away from the breeding stream hampering conservation strategies. In this study we use miniaturized radio transmitters to investigate the habitat use and home range of individual males and a female Tiger Spiketail in New Jersey. This is the first and only radio-telemetry for this species. We also provide recommendations for habitat protection and conservation. Our studies demonstrate that this species is critically dependent upon mature forest and the high quality, perennial headwater streams that run through them. These habitats are particularly sensitive to disturbance. Except when patrolling and ovipositing, both sexes are in the canopy above the breeding stream and in the adjacent mature forest, indicating the inseparable linkage between the aquatic and forested terrestrial habitat for this species. Our observations also suggest that C. erronea occurs in a metapopulation of nearby streams in our study area. Conservation of this species may therefore require forest protection far beyond the breeding stream. In New Jersey, and in other places throughout the range, there are many potential pressures on these habitats and current regulatory protections are not likely suitable. These same habitats may also be important for other Odonate species of conservation concern suggesting that protection of C. erronea may benefit a suite of species. We hope the information obtained from this study can assist resource managers in developing conservation and habitat protection measures.