Wisconsin Odonata Survey

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Sympetrum costiferum  (Hagen, 1861)
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk


Libellulidae, Skimmer Family

The meadowhawks form a group of small, late-season skimmers that can be difficult to tell apart. The Kalosympetrum subgenus in particular, which includes the ruby, white-faced, cherry-faced, and Jane's meadowhawks, are often difficult to distinguish and their taxonomic status is not in agreement among experts. To identify meadowhawks, notice the coloration of the face, legs, and wing veins in addition to the body. Mature males in all species, except for the back meadowhawk, have red markings, including females in some species.

Status-Global/State:

Global: G5     Wisconsin: S4    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This large meadowhawk is readily identified by its wings that are amber-tinted on the outer (costal) edges. The females and immature adults are generally yellow at first, becoming brownish in females and reddish in males when they gets older. The length of this dragonfly varies from 1.2 to 1.5 inches.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Common throughout northern United States and Canada, this species is usually found at a variety of ponds and lakes, especially poorly vegetated, shallow, sandy or gravelly habitats. It may be found occasionally in bogs. It is widely distributed throughout Wisconsin, but is rarely present in high densities, as are most other meadowhawks.

Flight Season:

Early July to late October in Wisconsin.


Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
<1%
(1)
23%
(51)
28%
(62)
38%
(86)
11%
(24)
Shading illustrates monthly percentages of the total flight season records for the species. Each flight season record is a unique date/location/observer combination where one or more adult or an exuvia was recorded (excludes nymphs). The actual number of flight season records for each month is shown in parentheses.

Flight seasons begin earlier in the southern part of the state, often by a week or more. Also, flight charts may not be accurate for rare species because of few data available.
View user-submitted photos

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Male saffron-winged meadowhawk. © Dan Jackson

Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Photo of Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Male saffron-winged meadowhawk. © David Hanson

Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Photo of Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Male saffron-winged meadowhawk. © Vic Berardi

Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Photo of Teneral male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Teneral male saffron-winged meadowhawk. © Mike Reese

Teneral male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Photo of Female saffron-winged meadowhawk
Female saffron-winged meadowhawk. © Vic Berardi

Female saffron-winged meadowhawk
Photo of Female saffron-winged meadowhawk
Female saffron-winged meadowhawk. © Vic Berardi

Female saffron-winged meadowhawk
Photo of Immature female saffron-winged meadowhawk
Immature female saffron-winged meadowhawk. © Dan Jackson

Immature female saffron-winged meadowhawk



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