Prince baskettails, like most Corduliidae, live in and around freshwater swamps and ponds. This species lives in the surrounding vegetation of permanent ponds, lakes or streams, all of which have a slow current. The eggs and larvae live in the water, usually occupying depths of 0.5 m. The water conditions can range from clear to muddy, and a suitable oxygen concentration is necessary for the eggs laid underwater. (Dunkle, 2000; Resh and Carde, 2003; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2011; Wissinger, 1988)
Like all dragonflies, prince baskettails have large compound eyes, which basically are numerous smaller eyes fused together. These dragonflies are classified in the family Corduliidae, which includes the "emerald dragonflies", so named because of their emerald-colored eyes. Only prince baskettail males have green eyes; females have bronze or brown eyes, and juveniles have red-brown eyes.
has small antennae. All four of its wings have brown spots on the apical, nodal, and basal portions. The wings are brittle and stiff. Females usually are larger and have a more cylindrical and bluntly tipped abdomen, which ends in their ovipositor. Males have a larger segment 9 abdominal region compared to females. Southern prince baskettails are larger than their counterparts in the Midwest, and both regional types have the same markings.
odonates, it has three life stages--egg, larva, and adult. It exhibits a distinct transition from the larval to the adult stage, during which shifts from an aquatic to a terrestrial form.is hemimetabolous. Like all
During the spring and summer,females deposit fertilized egg masses in water near the shoreline, at depths of 0.5 m. Fertilized eggs grow and begin to hatch within 2 to 3 weeks. The process of hatching occurs when the embryo uses peristaltic movements to swallow amniotic fluids. The embryo pushes its head into the vitelline membrane until the membrane bursts. The embryo then uses a sclerotized frontal crest (nicknamed the "egg buster") to cut the chorion and free itself from the egg.
Prince baskettails are known for their relatively long larval development, as larvae require 11 months or up to 2 years to develop to their final molt. Larval development is asynchronous, which reduces intraspecific competition among the newly hatched larvae of different broods.hatches as a prolarva, which is a brief life stage that does not eat. The prolarva molts into a second form, which is pale and still retains in its midgut nutritious yolk from the egg. As the larva molts, its pigmentation darkens, and it grows in size. larvae live underwater, where they are top predators. When hunting underwater, prince baskettails use a prehensile labium to catch their prey. They feed by grasping the prey with their labium and bringing it to their mandibles to engulf and chew the food.
Whenis in its final larval stage, it migrates to greater depths in its underwater habitat. Its defense against the winter cold is to attach to a substrate in the depths and undergo diapause. This strategy is believed to allow the larvae to escape from predators and other potential risks associated with colder temperatures near the shore.
When warmer temperatures return,larvae come out of diapause and prepare for metamorphosis. They migrate back toward the shore and remain underwater for about a week. During this time, the wing pads begin to thicken, and the larval exoskeleton completely encases the growing adult. When prince baskettail larvae leave the water, they find and hold a support substrate, which enables successful emergence. Emergence begins when the exoskeleton splits along the middorsal line, and the thorax pushes out. The legs, wings, and the rest of the anterior end of the body emerge next. Then the adult rests for 10 to 20 minutes, which allows the exposed parts of its body to harden. The adult then uses its legs to pull its entire body from the larval exoskeleton.
After emergence, the wings of the adult must expand and harden. The wings become clear and slender as they dry, and the process normally takes about 15 minutes. The transition from aquatic larva to terrestrial adult is risky, as the adult is exposed and weak during the resting periods of emergence. Most larvae fall to predation at this stage. Only about 1% oflarvae reach sexual maturity.
Adults undergo 2 phases: the prereproductive and reproductive phases. During the prereproductive phase, coloring appears, including the darkening of the basal and nodal spots on the wings. The exoskeleton hardens, and the thoracic muscles develop. During this phase, the gonads develop and mature. Females have a longer prereproductive period than males. Once a prince baskettail matures, it enters the reproductive phase. During the reproductive phase, males search for a mate; males also search for and protect an oviposition site. (Batzer, et al., 1999; Resh and Carde, 2003; Wissinger, 1988)
mates as early as May. When individuals reach sexual maturity, the males guard an oviposition site near the water source where a female can deposit her eggs. Females typically are solitary, living away from males until they reach sexual maturity.
The primary sense used for finding a mate is vision. Once a male sees a female, he flies next to and around her. Then he returns to his oviposition site, waiting for the female to follow him. If a female follows the male, the male hovers over the female at the oviposition site. While hovering, the male transfers sperm to his penis from a gonopore on his abdomen. This process is called intramale sperm translocation. If the female slows her wing beats per minute while the male hovers over her, the male initiates tandem linkage, wherein he grasps the flying female on her pterothorax to bring her abdomen upward and forward. During copulation, the female swings her abdomen forward toward the male's abdomen, forming a copulation wheel. The male transfers sperm from his penis to the female's sperm storage organ near her ovipositor. He also wipes any other sperm out of her sperm storage organ. This sperm displacement behavior ensures that most of the progeny are fertilized by the female's last mate. Copulation is brief, lasting 3 to 20 seconds.
The female oviposits later in the day, toward dusk. She fertilizes the eggs as they pass the sperm storage organ and exit the ovipositor. A mass of eggs forms under her abdomen. dragonfly species. The female attaches the egg mass to a substrate in the water, near the shore. (Batzer, et al., 1999; Borror, et al., 1989; Dunkle, 2000; Resh and Carde, 2003; Wissinger, 1988)females lay this orange-colored mass of eggs, which resembles a basket and has led to the common name of "prince baskettails" for this
Epitheca cynosura simulans. perches to feed on larger food items; it also perches at night. It perches by hanging under twigs, often with its wings elevated. It typically is still perched at dawn, as the sun must heat its muscles before it can begin flying. Species in the genus Epitheca, prince baskettails included, are known for their strong, persistent flights.most often can be observed flying over trees during the day and feeding in swarms during the evening. This species can form swarms of 10 to 30 individuals and may fly with
Larvae often enter diapause during the winter. They migrate to deeper waters when temperatures are low, which enables them to avoid predation and the dangers associated with cold temperatures close to the shore. (Dunkle, 2000; Hutchinson, 1977; Resh and Carde, 2003; Thorp and Rogers, 2010; Wissinger, 1988)
stays near a freshwater source and in the surrounding vegetation. The size of the water source tends to be about 1,200 square meters, while the size of the surrounding terrestrial habitat utilized by is unknown.
Odonate larvae eat almost anything they can catch, including other odonate larvae, a variety of benthic and planktonic invertebrates, tadpoles, and even small fish. A prince baskettail larva feeds by using its protractile labium to catch prey and transport the food to its mouth. (Batzer, et al., 1999; Dunkle, 2000; Evans, et al., 2004; Resh and Carde, 2003; Thorp and Rogers, 2010; Wissinger, 1988)
is most vulnerable to predators as it metamorphoses into an adult, during the transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial habitat.
Larvae are eaten by predators such as adult frogs, fishing spiders, grackles, and red-winged blackbirds. Larger odonate larvae prey on smaller odonate larvae. The dark coloring of larvae camouflages them in their underwater habitat. (Batzer, et al., 1999; Dunkle, 2000; Wissinger, 1988)
is one of the top invertebrate predators in the shallow littoral zones of ponds and streams. As a predator, helps control the population densities of many pest insect species, such as mosquitoes.
dragonflies, and frogs. Predation among dragonflies is more prevalent during the larval stage relative to predation among adults.serves as prey for organisms such as birds, larger
zebra mussels. Zebra mussels attach to and colonize dragonfly larvae, which reduces larval fitness. This parasitism can hinder the emergence of the larvae, as colonized larvae may not be able to leave the water and find a safe, sturdy substrate for emergence. (Dunkle, 2000; Fincke, et al., 2008; Thorp and Rogers, 2010; Wissinger, 1988)larvae can act as hosts in a parasitic relationship with
dragonflies, is harmless to people. Given its insectivorous habits, is helpful to humans when it preys on pest insects. Its presence can be an indicator of freshwater quality. (Evans, et al., 2004; Thorp and Rogers, 2010), like other
There are no known adverse effects of (Evans, et al., 2004)on humans.
Nicole Sugai (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Elizabeth Wason (author, editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
active at dawn and dusk
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
a substantial delay (longer than the minimum time required for sperm to travel to the egg) takes place between copulation and fertilization, used to describe female sperm storage.
a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
fertilization takes place within the female's body
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
light waves that are oriented in particular direction. For example, light reflected off of water has waves vibrating horizontally. Some animals, such as bees, can detect which way light is polarized and use that information. People cannot, unless they use special equipment.
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
mature spermatozoa are stored by females following copulation. Male sperm storage also occurs, as sperm are retained in the male epididymes (in mammals) for a period that can, in some cases, extend over several weeks or more, but here we use the term to refer only to sperm storage by females.
a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others
uses sight to communicate
Batzer, D., R. Rader, S. Wissinger. 1999. Invertebrates in Freshwater Wetlands of North America: Ecology and Management. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc..
Borror, D., C. Triplehorn, N. Johnson. 1989. An Introduction to the Study of Insects (6th edition). Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing.
Cresswell, S. 2011. "http://www.americaninsects.net/d/epitheca-princeps.html.: " (On-line). Accessed February 02, 2012 at
Evans, A., R. Garrison, J. Trumpey. 2004. Order: Odonata. Pp. 133-139 in N Schlager, M Hutchins, eds. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 2nd Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale.
Fincke, O., D. Santiago, S. Hickner, R. Bienek. 2008. Susceptibility of larval dragonflies to zebra mussel colonization and its effect on larval movement and survivorship. Hydrobiologia, 624: 71-79. Accessed June 13, 2013 at http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/F/Ola.M.Fincke-1/Finckeetal09.pdf.
Gullan, P., P. Cranston. 2010. The Insects: An Outline of Entomology (4th edition). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.
Hutchinson, R. 1977. Observations on Populations of Epitheca-princeps and Epitheca-Cynosura-Simulans Odonata Corduliidae in Rigaud Canada with Distributional Notes. Cordulia, 3/1: 11-16.
Kormondy, E. 1959. The Systematics of Tetragoneuria, Based on Ecological, Life History, and Morphological Evidence. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 107: 1-79. Accessed June 16, 2013 at http://pocarisweat.umdl.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/56351/MP107.pdf?sequence=1.
Marshall, S. 2006. Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books.
Resh, V., R. Carde. 2003. Encyclopedia of Insects. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.
Thorp, J., D. Rogers. 2010. Field Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates of North America. London UK: Elsevier.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2011. "Epicordulia princeps" (On-line). Wisconsin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Inventory. Accessed February 02, 2012 at http://wiatri.net/inventory/odonata/SpeciesAccounts/SpeciesDetail.cfm?TaxaID=64.
Wissinger, S. 1988. Spatial distribution, life history and estimates of survivorship in fourteen-species assemblage of larval dragonflies (Odonata: Anisoptera). Freshwater Biology, 20: 329-340.