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Dragonfly and Damselfly Guide

Black-tipped darner dragonfly

Dragonflies and damselflies are two related groups (suborders) that make up the insect order Odonata. Although very similar in many ways, they are also very easy to distinguish.

Dragonfly adults have a rather robust body, and perch with wings held out to the side. Their eyes are huge, often meeting at the top of the head. The bodies of damselfly adults are quite slender, and for most species the wings are folded together over their abdomen while at rest. While their eyes are very large, they are set somewhat to the side of the head rather than dominating the front.

Dragonflies are swift and strong fliers, reminiscent of tiny airplanes, while damselflies have a rather fluttering flight.

Ontario’s Woodpeckers

Ontario’s Woodpeckers

by Dan Schneider and Peter Pautler   A t a press conference in Washington D.C. last April, the world learned that the ivory-billed woodpecker lives.This charismatic bird is not, to our amazement, extinct after all. It’s hard to say whether the startling news sparked renewed interest in woodpeckers, but unquestionably bird watching in general continues […]

Ontario’s bats

Ontario’s bats

By Dan Schneider and Peter Pautler As the only flying mammals in the world, bats can make an impressive claim to fame. Eight species of these nocturnal creatures live in Ontario. Agile and predatory, bats are capable of extremely sophisticated bio-sonar, also called echolocation, meaning that they emit pulses of sound and can detect echoes […]

Field Trip: Weasels

Field Trip: Weasels

by Dan Schneider and Peter Pautler Sought after for their luxurious furs and entrenched in popular myth as killers and gluttons, weasels (of the family Mustelidae) are solitary creatures well adapted to catching small mammals, birds and fish. Of the 11 species of weasels widespread across temperate regions of North America, nine live in Ontario: […]

Field Trip: Poisonous plants

Field Trip: Poisonous plants

by Dan Scheider and Peter Pautler A terrible story in the Schneider household goes back to the 1800s. Two young boys, on their way to bring in the cows, mistook the roots of water hemlock for tasty wild parsnip and enjoyed a snack. Some time later, one boy was found dead on the doorstep, the […]

Spiders

Spiders

by Dan Scneider and Peter Pautler WEB MASTERS Spiders are master weavers and use their silk – which has greater tensile strength than steel and twice the elasticity of nylon – for various purposes: to immobilize prey, to craft egg cases, safety lines and shelters, as dispersal parachutes and for sexual communication. But the silken […]

Field Trip: Coniferous trees

Field Trip: Coniferous trees

by Dan Schneider and Peter Pautler Confined, for the most part, to habitats shaped by cold, < dry, windy climates, coniferous trees dominate the enormous northern boreal forest, a region that blankets 11 percent of the earth’s surface. North of Ontario’s Great Lakes, this vast coniferous forest occupies 75 million hectares, nearly half of the […]

Squirrels

Squirrels

by Dan Schneider and Peter Pautler Fight or flight As a prey species, squirrels must be constantly vigilant. Leaping from tree to tree is one escape technique for tree squirrels, an ability most evident in flying squirrels. Relative to their body size flying squirrels have the longest legs of all our squirrels, allowing them to […]

Salamanders

Salamanders

by Dan Schneider and Peter Pautler
Salamanders are perhaps the most elusive of the amphibians – they are rarely encountered after spring breeding – yet they outnumber all other vertebrates that inhabit our forested areas…