ID Dragonflies and Locate Hotspots: Introducing the New Dragonfly ID App!

Calling all nature enthusiasts! Do you have a smartphone and want to use it to explore, identify, and marvel at the diversity of dragonfly and damselfly fauna in your backyard, local wetland, or favorite trout stream? Well, now you can! We are pleased to introduce Dragonfly ID, a first-of-its-kind app brought to you by the developers of the popular BirdsEye apps BirdLog and Bird Finding Guide. The naturalist community has been using wildlife identification and reporting apps with great success for several years, but prior to this there has been no app for dragonfly and damselfly identification for North America. Created through a collaboration between developers at BirdsEye and OdonataCentral, the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, the Xerces Society, and the generosity of several individual donors, Dragonfly ID is a new tool in the world of odonates and will allow naturalists in the field to find dragonfly hotspots and identify and learn more about the species they see.

With the goal of bringing together naturalists, citizen scientists, and photographers, the Dragonfly ID app will allow users to identify species in the places where they perch, patrol, and mate. Additional features include the option to search for lists of recently sighted species nearby, find local dragonfly hotspots, and generate a life list of species sightings. Each species entry includes the common and scientific name, a photo gallery, species records on a map displaying their distribution, and an abundance chart that shows the frequency of sightings for each species across all the months of the year within a radius of 1-50 miles of your current location (desired radius is set by the user).

How does the identification process work? A novice dragonflyer sees a damselfly or dragonfly perched on a shrub in their backyard or patrolling the shoreline at a local wetland and wants to know what it is. By using the app's "Smart Search", users can easily narrow down the possible species using the following filters: color(s), size, and habitat(s) (planned expansions of Smart Search include the addition of "perching position" to the filter set).  After setting the appropriate filters, a list of potential species based on nearby sightings appears. Each list is divided into "good matches", "possible matches", and "not-so-good matches", and users can scroll through the list and examine the entry for each species to find more detail to help them make their choice.  

In much of North America, the approach of fall has brought dragonfly season to an end. As you await the return of the dragonflies of spring, you can download the app and share photos from your dragonflying expeditions this past year. The app has been in the hands of beta testers for several weeks and is now available to the public! There are still many ways to contribute to the app. We are soliciting photos and text for species that still need information. For instance, click on River Jewelwing (Calopteryx aequabilis) and you'll see that content is currently lacking for this species, but links allow you to submit text and photos to complete species accounts.

Thank you to the donors and developers for their generous support and the beta-testers for their invaluable feedback! Now that the Dragonfly ID app has been fully launched, the developers will begin work on an Android version as well as a companion app that will allow you to report your species sightings to the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership and/or OdonataCentral web sites. iOS users download the app today!