During his party’s three-day stay in the community, Williamson also documented the first Oklahoma records of three additional dragonfly and damselfly species. From these specimens, he described multiple species he thought were new to science, but only one dragonfly, the orange shadowdragon, is still considered a full species. Another specimen collected during his trip helped to describe the damselfly now known as the vesper bluet.
“Williamson was one of the first to document Oklahoma’s dragonflies and damselflies, and quite possibly the first to do so,” said Brenda D. Smith, conservation biologist with the Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory.
While Williamson’s discoveries were remarkable for such a brief stopover in the state, a connection made while at Wister helped the naturalist stay involved in Oklahoma’s dragonfly world and make additional contributions after he returned to Indiana.
“Williamson met and hired a young man named Frank Collins while in Wister,” Smith said. “Collins, who lived in Indian Territory, continued to collect dragonflies along the Poteau River and around Henryetta in the summer of 1907 and later mailed the specimens to Williamson. Though he didn’t have any formal entomological training, Collins really was quite the collector.”