Progomphus Selys 1854 - Sanddragons
Progomphus obscurus (Rambur, 1842) - Common Sanddragon

Notes - References
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Page last updated: 15 July1998

Notes onProgomphusobscura inMichigan

A large genus of primarily neotropical gomphiddragonflies, one species - Progomphusobscurus - is widely distributed intemperate North America and is found in the LP of Michigan (Map 1).

Map 1: County distribution ofProgomphusobscurus in Michigan
Click on map for a larger image

Larvae are widely distributed in streams andlakes of the LP wherever suitable habitat exists. They aredistinctive for their long, slender angulate fourth antennal segmentas well as the closely appressed position of the middle coxa. Thesefeatures facilitate larvae to easily burrow into shifting sandsubstrates of streams and lakes (Needham and Westfall1955). Huggins and DuBois(1982) studied habitat and dietarypreference of P.obscurus larvae in a stream in Kansas.He found larvae significantly correlated to sand and gravelsubstrates, and did not appear to conflict with another gomphidburrower, Gomphusexternus, which largely shared the sameprey choice. They describe larval burrowing method, which occured ina random pattern throughout the study site: "Larvae of P. obscurusspread their hind legs downward and outward from their body. Thisallowed their hind legs to act as braces in the sand and preventedthe dragonfly from being swept downstream. They initiated burrowingactivity immediately after becoming stable and were able to burrowfrom sight in two to five seconds. Burrowing was accomplished usingthe front and middle legs only. This species was never observed toburrow deeper than 2 cm. Most individuals were found from 8-17 mmbelow the surface... Generally, smaller larvae burrowed less deeplythan larger ones." Diet of larvae was predominately made up ofcollector-gatherer chironomids.

Other links with information on the biology orecology of larval Progomphus:
Habitatinformation from survey of Venezuelan NP >>
Briefhabitat information from NE North America >>
Briefhabitat info from New Jersey, USA>>
Briefhabitat info from Houston, Texas, USA>>


Huggins, D.G., and M. B. DuBois. 1982. Factors affecting microdistribution oftwo species of burrowing dragonfly larvae, with notes on theirbiology (Anisoptera: Gomphidae). Odonatologica11(1):1-14.

Needham, J.G. and M. J. Westfall, Jr. 1955. A Manual of the Dragonflies of NorthAmerica (Anisoptera). University of California Press: Berkeley,California. 615 pp.

Rambur, J. P. 1842.Histoire naturelle des insectes neuroptères. LibraireEncyclopédique de Roret: Paris. 534 pp.

Selys-Longschamps, 1854. Synopsis des Gomphines. Bulletin de l'Académie royale des Sciences deBelgique 21(2):23-112(sep.3-93).

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