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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Western Pondhawk - Erythemis collocata

Species of Concern

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1S2
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
This dragonfly is currently listed as an "S1S2" Species of Concern in MT due to extremely limited and/or rapidly declining population numbers, range and/or habitat, making it highly vulnerable to extirpation in the state. Restricted to one warm spring habitat in the Tobacco Root Mountains of the state.
 
General Description
The Western Pondhawk is a medium-sized dragonfly with a green face and pale-dark blue body (males); females have a mostly green thorax with a black abdominal dorsal stripe. Currently in MT, the Western Pondhawk is known only from Potosi Warm Spring in the Tobacco Root Mountains of Madison County. They have been found to prefer habitats of still waters of ponds, lakes, and marshes as well as slow flowing waters of streams and springs (Dunkle 2000, Nikula et al. 2002, Paulson 2009).

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.
 


Range Comments
Range wide this species has a large distribution from British Columbia in Canada south to Texas. Currently the Western Pondhawk is known only from Potosi Warm Spring in the Tobacco Root Mountains of Madison County (Miller and Gustafson 1996).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 9

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Western Pondhawks prefer habitats of still waters of ponds, lakes, and marshes as well as slow flowing waters of streams and springs (Dunkle 2000, Nikula et al. 2002, Paulson 2009). In Montana, this species has so far only been found in Potosi hot springs in Tobacco Root Mountains (Miller and Gustafson 1996).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2012.  Mammals of Montana.  Second edition.  Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana.  429 pp.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Western Pondhawks are voracious predators and will prey on dragonflies their size and even other Western Pondhawks (Nikula et al. 2002). They will also eat almost any soft-bodied flying insect including mosquitoes, flies, small moths, mayflies, and flying ants or termites. The larvae feed on a wide variety of aquatic insects, such as mosquito larvae, other aquatic fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and freshwater shrimp. They will also eat very small fish and tadpoles.

Reproductive Characteristics
Male Western Pondhawks patrol territories with extended periods of hovering and quick flights over open water. Females are more common in dense grassy areas away from breeding sites. Copulation is completed at rest and is brief. The female then begins oviposition while guarded by the male. He flies around her while she deposits eggs by irregularly tapping her abdomen in the open water or onto algal mats (Dunkle 2000, Nikula et al. 2002, Paulson 2009).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Western Pondhawk — Erythemis collocata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from