Minnesota Dragonfly

Black Meadowhawk

Sympetrum danae

The black meadowhawk is a dark dragonfly that is found in the Northern United States and Canada. Mature males are entirely brown to black from head to tip. Females and immature males are yellow and black with a complex pattern on the side of the thorax

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 0.8 to 1.2 inches
  • Mature males are entirely dark brown to black in color getting darker with age
  • Males face is black becoming metallic looking with age
  • Thorax is fuzzy on the top
  • Dark abdomen with black terminal appendages
  • Immature males look like females but darken as they age until they become all black
  • Immature pattern remains faintly visible while males mature

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Females eyes are red over olive green
  • Females have complex black and yellow markings on side of thorax
  • Females have yellow triangular top spots surrounded by black on abdomen
  • Short pale terminal appendages
  • Scoop style subgenital plate hangs down from the abdomen

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History

Behavior

Often found in marshy fields away from breeding sites, perching in the vegetation or on the ground. Females usually perch in shrubs higher up than males. Males are not very territorial

Habitat

Marshy or boggy lakes and ponds. Also small pools in bogs, fens, and marshlands

Reproduction

Mating takes around 20 minutes and occurs primarily away from the water. After mating pairs either fly in tandem to the water to lay eggs in the open water or moss or the female may also oviposit alone.

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.