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 black meadowhawk, have red markings, including females in some species.
The bright red male of this species has a reddish face, while the reddish female has a paler face. Separated only by looking at the genitalia, females are easily confused with white-faced meadowhawks. The length of the body varies from 0.8 to 1.4 inches. The ruby meadowhawk is very similar to the cherry-faced meadowhawk, and the males of these species can only be separated by careful examination under high magnification. Although our specimens appear quite distinct from Jane's meadowhawk, which is found further east, some workers consider cherry-faced and Jane's meadowhawks to be the same species.
This species is common throughout Canada and northern United States. It is usually found at ponds, lakes, marshes, bogs, and slow streams. It is infrequently found in Wisconsin, mostly in the north.
Mid-June to mid-September in Wisconsin.