Thursday, September 5, 2013

Meadowhawk Dragonflies

Autumn Meadowhawk
Flying around wetlands from mid-summer through late fall are the Meadowhawk dragonflies.  According to "A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts, 2nd edition" by Nikula, Ryan and Burne, there are seven species of Meadowhawk's that have been reported in Massachusetts.  The Variegated Meadowhawk has only been reported in Massachusetts, three times.  What makes the identification difficult is that the Ruby/Cherry-faced/White-faced group are only identified by subtle morphological features.  All three of these Meadowhawks have black legs.  The Autumn Meadowhawk is distinguished by having lack of black on the legs.

Autumn Meadowhawk




Ruby Meadowhawk

Descriptive wise Meadowhawks are around 1 1/2 inches long with a red/yellow-orange abdomens and reddish/chestnut/rusty brown eyes.  Females can have different colors.  They are usually found around wetlands, but I have even found them on vegetation outside my condominium.  Saffron-winged Meadowhawk are distinguished by wings with amber veins anteriorly, legs that are mostly black, but can be pale at their base. 

Band-winged Meadowhawk have broad amber wing bands which are distinctive and are usually found throughout interior Massachusetts.

So go out, capture in your camera, these nice reddish dragonflies and have fun trying to identify them.

By the way, the book mentioned above is available from
Department of Fish & Game
Fisheries & Wildlife
Natural Heritage & Endangered Species
Publications & Forms
Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Publications