Minnesota Dragonfly

Autumn Meadowhawk

Sympetrum vicinum

Autumn meadowhawks are a red or yellow species of late-season meadowhawks. They are easily identified by their light orange-tan legs that distinguish this species from other similar species of meadowhawks that have black legs.

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is from approximately 1.2 to 1.4 inches
  • Red eyes and face
  • Thorax red with no specific thoracic markings
  • Red abdomen without distinct black triangles found on abdomen of most other species of meadowhawks
  • Narrow black median spot on abdomen segment 9
  • Possibly some black smudging on sides of abdomen and top of segment 8 and 9
  • Wings clear with amber tint at the base
  • Brownish orange legs (black on other similar looking species of meadowhawks)
  • Immature males are primarily orange-yellow color

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Mature female is either red in color, like the male, or orange-tan like the immature.
  • Eyes usually red over tan
  • Long scoop shape subgenital plate hangs perpendicularly from the abdomen
  • Wings clear with amber tint at the base
  • Brownish orange legs

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History

Behavior

Autumn Meadowhawks are usually the last species of dragonfly seen in Minnesota each year. They can often still be found at the end of October or beginning of November. They are more tolerant to the cold than most odenates and can survive temps of around 50 degrees or lower.

Habitat

Permanent ponds, lakes, bogs, marshes and slow moving streams with a lot of vegetation

Reproduction

Mating typically takes place away from the water with pairs flying in tandem to the water to lay eggs. Eggs are usually oviposited into muddy banks, with the female alternating between tapping her abdomen to the mud and dipping it into the water. This species overwinters in its egg phase. The eggs hatch in the spring when high waters cover the banks where they were oviposited

Range Maps

Click on the icons above for this species' range maps

Click here for county and state checklists from Odonata Central.

Range maps and checklists courtesy of Odonata Central. Copyright © 2016 OdonataCentral. All Rights Reserved. Abbott, J.C. 2006-2018. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata. Available at www.odonatacentral.org.