taking a free ride

This is an added attraction for Circus of the Spineless readers who have stopped by for a visit. I guess you could call this an “invertebrate combo” photo. These are exuviae of Epitheca princeps dragonflies, one of which has a Zebra Mussel (Dreissena) attached to the top of its abdomen. I photographed these on June 11, 2005, while hiking at Charleston Lake Provincial Park in eastern Ontario. Click on photos to see larger views.

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5 Responses to “taking a free ride”

  1. pablo Says:

    I’ve heard that zebra mussels will cling to just about anything, but I hadn’t looked at it in this way. Makes me wonder about floating in my lake too long.

  2. Nannothemis Says:

    There has been some research started on the impact of zebra mussels on odonates. Mark O’Brien’s ode blog has a post about it:


  3. burning silo Says:

    pablo – yes, they do cling to a lot of things….well, anything that remains in the water for very long. I think you’ll be safe though. (-:

    Nannothemis – thanks very much for the link to Mark O’Brien’s post — very interesting and a super photo. I’ve been told by several people that they’ve also found zebra mussels on odonates, so it must be fairly common but not generally noticed unless you’re watching for it — which is something I intend to do this year in locations where zebra mussels abound.

  4. Mick Gordon Says:

    Looks like you find the same kind of thing interesting as me. Your insects are pretty amazing. I was attracted by your geology sidebar as I write about rocks and Ontario. Mick

  5. Burning Silo » Blog Archive » late autumn insect activity Says:

    […] Of the non-insect sightings along the way, clusters of these Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) shells were seen on some concrete block anchor weights that had been pulled out of the lake for the winter (see below). Zebra mussels are a particularly nasty invasive species now found in many watersheds in eastern North America. It’s not usual to find masses of these small, sharp-shelled little mussels encrusted over any submerged surface including rocks, anchors, dock structures, and even on other creatures such as this native freshwater mussel. I’ve even found them clinging to dragonfly exuviae. When numerous, they can impair other creatures to the point of making them immobile and/or unable to feed. […]