Minnesota Dragonfly

Ruby Meadowhawk

Sympetrum rubicundulum

The Ruby Meadowhawk is a small red skimmer of the genus Sympetrum. Males are mostly reddish brown with black side spots on the abdomen. Females come in a mustard yellow or red form. Distinguishing between Meadowhawk species can be very difficult


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.3 to 1.4 inches
  • Brown face
  • Red over brown eyes
  • Reddish brown unmarked thorax
  • Black legs
  • In the Western edge of range, including Minnesota, they usually have an amber patch at base of wings
  • Red abdomen with black side spots on segments 4 to 9
  • Red terminal appendages
  • Cerci longer than epiproct
  • Examine hamules to identify between Ruby, Cherry-faced and White-faced Meadowhawk males

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Yellow face with red over yellow eyes
  • Yellow unmarked thorax
  • Amber wing patches in western part of their range
  • Yellow abdomen with black side spots on segments 4 to 9
  • Subgenital plates are "M" shaped

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Like most species of Symptrum, the Ruby Meadowhawk is most commonly found in the open fields where males perch at the top of tall grasses or on shrubs and defend a small territory


Ponds, marshes, lakes, roadside ditches, bogs and slow moving streams


Mating usually takes place away from the water. Females lay eggs alone or in tandem either by dipping her abdomen into the water or by dropping eggs into the grass near the waterline

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.