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Nymph Ecology, Habitat, and Emergence-Site Selection of Cordulegaster erronea Hagen (Tiger Spiketail Dragonfly) in New Jersey with Implications for Conservation

Moskowitz, David, May, Michael L.
Northeastern naturalist 2019 v.26 no.1 pp. 141-154
age structure, biological assessment, forests, habitat conservation, habitats, integument, landscapes, life history, nymphs, spring, streams, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey
Cordulegaster erronea (Tiger Spiketail) is of conservation concern throughout much of its range; yet only a single study on the nymphs has been conducted, and many aspects of the species’ life-history are poorly understood. The present study evaluated the size, age structure, and density of Tiger Spiketail nymphs at a stream on the Schiff Reservation Natural Lands Trust (Schiff) in Mendham Township, Morris County, NJ. We investigated the habitat and surrounding landscape characteristics of this stream and a second stream containing Tiger Spiketails at Schiff. We collected and measured 137 Tiger Spiketail nymphs during this study—82 in the spring and 55 in the fall—representing pre- and postadult emergence. We found 24 exuviae along both study streams and an additional 8 exuviae along 3 other streams in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware. We are aware of only 1 other published report of Tiger Spiketail exuvia, which documented a single specimen. Our data and habitat assessment indicate that the Tiger Spiketail has a long nymphal stage and may be dependent upon high quality, fish-free, perennial headwater streams flowing through extensive forests. This information may assist resource managers in developing conservation strategies and habitat-protection measures for this species.