Nautralist Notes August 2017

Naturalist Notes

August 2017

As we transition from July to August here at Lakeshore State Park, our Green Darner Dragonflies (Anax junius) have metamorphosed into adults. These dragonflies are one of very few species that are migratory to Wisconsin. In the spring, adults from the south fly to our lakes to mate. The female will then lay her fertilized eggs in the water, which will hatch in roughly 2-5 weeks. Unlike non-migratory species, which can spend up to 4 years as a nymph, our Green Darners will only spend up to 3 months in this stage. The nymph remains in the water, feeding on zooplankton and breathing through internal gills until it is large enough to crawl onto land, shed its exoskeleton, and emerge as an adult. Temperature and nutrient conditions play a large part in how long they remain as a nymph, and in Wisconsin, that means they often hatch during the month of August due to the warmer temperatures.

dragonfly life stages

Our prairies are undergoing their own kind of metamorphosis as well. Our Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and Common Milkweed  (Asclepias syriaca) are beginning to drop their flowers and create their seed pods. Our False White Indigo (Baptisia lactea) pods can be seen as well, as their white flowers have started to drop. Please don’t pick the seed pods from these plants. As tempting as this may be, they form our seed bank for next year’s prairie flowers.

As these begin their final stages before fall, some of our flowers and grasses are just beginning to bloom. Keep an eye out for the yellow flowers of Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida) and Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciose) in the upcoming weeks. Our Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), Little (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Big Bluestem (Andropogon geratdii) ,and Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) have grown significantly in the last month and are beginning to dominate our prairies throughout the park. We’re glad you’ve stopped by to see all these changes as they occur, and hope to see you at our upcoming events!

August flowers in bloom

Lakeshore State Park
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources