We had hoped to put out some lists of targeted species or counties that needed some field work in 2020. However, several things prevented this. First, we had many dozens of specimens given to us that had not been identified, or were not fully curated and ready to be sent to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) which currently holds most of the Odonata vouchers for the state. It took us longer than anticipated to go through all of them, identify them, and make sure the proper data was associated with them.
As we went through the MOS database to verify they were not already entered, we discovered that there were enough errors (mismatched locations and counties, mismatched family/genera/species, specimens we know exist missing from database, and so forth) that we decided a thorough review of the database was called for. It would be counterproductive for everybody if we provided inaccurate data to work from.
Finally, the coronavirus shutdowns have meant that the UMMZ has not been accepting specimens for some time. Until that happens and we can develop a protocol for adding to the collection and verifying county records, it seemed impractical to encourage people to go out collecting.
As indicated, all state and county records for Michigan need to be represented by a voucher. You can read the rationale behind this decision here. While ultimately all species are important to verify wherever they occur, at least for this field season we ask that you bring only significant records to our attention (for example, rare species). You can do so on the Michigan Odonata Facebook page, or if a photo (including photographs of voucher specimens) is submitted to Odonata Central, one of us (Darrin O’Brien, the state vetter) will see it and may contact you. (We regret that we had to remove the contact page from this site as we were overwhelmed with spam.) If you do collect a new county record we can accept some vouchers and make sure they have all the necessary data with them and will hold them in our insect cabinet until we can bring them all to the UMMZ. This link has instructions on how to prepare a specimen.
If you have any questions, there is a link to this post on the Facebook page for discussion, or feel free to open a new thread. If you are not a member of the page, you’ll just have to ask to join and answer a couple questions; managing a closed group page on Facebook also cuts down on the irrelevant posts and spam. We check it almost every day.
Thanks to all past and future contributors to the MOS!
Mark O’Brien, former insect collections manager at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, founded the Michigan Odonata Survey (MOS) in 1996. He has now retired and recently moved out of state. He is pursuing interests other than entomology, and the Michigan Odonata Survey has been passed on to Julie Craves and Darrin O’Brien.
We have many hundreds of files — web pages, images, checklists, maps, keys, databases, and documents — to go through and organize. We need to completely re-do the MOS website (this site, currently being constructed), clean up and update the database, and determine if, how, and when we can present this data to the public and publish a Michigan Odonata Atlas.
We thank everyone who has contributed to the MOS through the years, and sincerely hope to make sure all of our efforts are easily available, but right now this feels like a daunting task. Please bear with us.