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genus: Sympetrum


This is a large genus of more than 50 species, 15 of which are in North America.  Our species are small, mostly reddish in color, with slender abdomens that may show black markings. One species is mostly black in coloration.

Most species are recognizable in the field, the identification of some, even in the hand, is difficult.  Some meadowhawk species are so similar (especially the females and juveniles) that they are almost indistinguishable, and without the help of a magnifying loop and a good taxonomy key ID is almost impossible.  This genus has been known to hybridize, and ID has caused many a headache.

Meadowhawks are familiar to grassy meadows, marshes and lakeshores.  They are poor flyers and most often are seen perching on low vegetation.  They are more abundant in the fall months and are seen in some geographic regions as late as November.

© 2018 Sheryl Chacon Search