elfin skimmers

Elfin skimmers can get trapped in the small carnivorous sundew plants. Here is a shot of a female elfin skimmer.

Over the weekend, I took a road trip to see some nature in Ohio. I visited many different sites and saw a lot of new species, but one came as a surprise to me.

On the way home, my friend, Paul Marcum, and I stopped at Cedar Bog in West Central Ohio. Bogs are rare botanical treasures in the Midwest and more often occur further north.

In Illinois, Volo Bog would be a great example. During the mile or more boardwalk loop at Cedar Bog, we ran across lots of damselfly and dragonfly species.

However, one dragonfly caught my eye at it perched on a bulrush stem just a few feet away from us. Paul, an Ohio native, knew exactly what it was. We were in the presence of elfin skimmers.

Elfin skimmers are North America’s smallest dragonflies, averaging less than an inch long. They are endangered in Ohio and only thought to be in two locations within the state.

In Illinois, we only have one location for them, according to information available. It was striking to see their size, as many of the damselflies were longer. According to one source, these small dragonflies can get trapped in the small carnivorous sundew plants, which we also saw on our hike.

We were able to see both the female and the male elfin skimmers within a few feet of each other. The female is more striking.

The male is similar in size but is completely different in color with a powdered blue base and some darker splotches.

Now that I am back home, I will be back on the local moth trail. Saturday marks the beginning of National Moth Week, and my light and I will be set up from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Chippewa campground at the Kankakee River State Park

Come join me and see some amazing things fly in from the dark.

Reach Trevor Edmonson at trevoredmonson@gmail.com.

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