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Alabama Shadowdragon



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Neurocordulia alabamensis

Hodges in Needham & Westfall, 1955


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Corduliidae
Genus Neurocordulia
Species alabamensis Hodges in Needham & Westfall, 1955 [Neurocordulia]


Identification

This is a coastal species only rarely seen as far west as Louisiana and Texas. Its body is pale brown with diffuse yellow on the sides of the thorax; making the sides lighter than the front. The wings are clear or uniformly tinted with a row of brown spots along the entire costal margin of each wing. The legs are pale. The trochanter of the middle leg in the male lacks a distinct truncate process on its inner side. The distinct keel on the foretibia is approximately as long as the tibia is wide. The abdomen is pale brown and the caudal appendages are pale yellowish-brown. The female caudal appendages are short, approximately 1.6 mm.

Size

Total length: 41-46 mm; abdomen: 29-32 mm; hindwing: 28-33 mm.

Similar Species

Orange (N. xanthosoma ) and Umber (N. obsoleta ) Shadowdragons have basal brown spots in the wings. Cinnamon (N. virginiensis ) and Smoky (N. molesta ) Shadowdragons lack spots on the front margin of their wing and Coppery Emerald (Somatochlora georgiana ) has clear wings.

Habitat

Small to medium-sized slow flowing or spring-fed forest streams, frequently tannin stained.

Discussion

All Louisiana records of this species are based on larvae. The only Texas records were taken from Hickman Branch, 3.2 km south of Coldspring in San Jacinto County, Texas, part of the Sam Houston National Forest. This species has been called one of the most elusive dragonflies in Florida, because of its crepuscular behavior and habits. Females lay eggs during a rapid criss-crossing flight in pools or areas of slow flow.

Distribution

Southeastern U.S.