During the week of July 14th, MDP Project Coordinator Celeste Mazzacano (Xerces Society) and co-chair John Abbott (St. Edward's University) joined steering committee member Elisa Peresbarbosa Rojas (Pronatura Veracruz) to present workshops on dragonfly migration at the beautiful Pantanos de Centla in Tabasco in southeast Mexico. Our gracious and eminently knowledgeable host there was Juan Carlos Romero Gil, a biologist with CONANP (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas) who has worked in conservation in this area for many years.

The interpretative center at the Pantanos de Centla was established in 1992 and is called Uyotat-Ja', which in the local Chontal Mayan language means Casa del Agua (House of Water), and a more perfect location for dragonflies (and crocodiles!) is hard to imagine. Established as a Biosphere Reserve in 2006, the Pantanos de Centla lies at the delta of the Usumacinta and Grijalva rivers, and is among the most important wetland systems in the world. A hotbed of biodiversity, it is inhabited by an estimated 484 plant, 52 fish, 27 amphibian, 68 reptile, 255 bird, and 104 mammal species. It is also home to a variety of dragonflies, from clouds of Hyacinth Gliders (Miathyria marcella) that formed daily feeding swarms over our heads to numerous perched Band-winged Dragonlets (Erythrodiplax umbrata, a suspected migratory species), and the endlessly flying migratory species Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), laying their eggs in pools. The workshops were presented on July 15 & 16 and were attended by university students, staff of natural resource agencies, and members of the public. Participants were enthusiastic and full of questions, as well as substantial skill with a net in the field.  

This area of Mexico is important for dragonfly migration. Thanks to the monitoring work done by MDP partner Pronatura Veracruz, we know that large annual flights of migratory dragonflies occur in this region every year, in conjunction with the annual raptor migration. These flights continue past Veracruz, but at this point we still don't know the southern extent of the dragonfly migration route or the location of important overwintering grounds. Do migrating dragonflies disperse across the abundant wetlands of Tabasco in the winter? And what is the local life history of populations of migratory species in this area?  With new partnerships and collaborations in southeastern Mexico, and the addition of more Spanish-language MDP resources such as the recently completed field guide (Guía de Identificación para las Libélulas Migratorias) and the translation of the MDP web site and Monitoring Protocols booklet (coming soon), we are confident that new answers will be discovered in our continuing quest to reveal the mysteries of dragonfly migration.


Make sure you have the necessary resources to identify migratory dragonflies. Also, check out the new version of the MDP field guide in Spanish!

This newly released publication provides guidelines for landowners to help them create, manage, and maintain backyard ponds to attract dragonflies and damselflies. Download your copy here! 

Do you have a story to share about a new experience or a new place discovered since participating in MDP projects? Email your stories about new discoveries while volunteering and we'll include them in a future newsletter.

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Photo Credits: Banner: Los Tres Bravos, Pantanos De Centla, Tabasco, Mexico, by Celeste Mazzacano; 
 Side bar: Cover photo of Backyard Pond Guidelines, by Walter Chadwick, citizen science volunteer; 
Cover photo of the Spanish MDP Field Guide, by Greg Lasley; 
In text: Red-faced Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax fusca), by Celeste Mazzacano; MDP workshop participants in Tabasco, Mexico, by Celeste Mazzacano


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