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Sympetrum costiferum
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk

(Hagen, 1861)
Libellulidae, Skimmer Family
photo of Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Male saffron-winged meadowhawk — Dan Jackson
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.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
photo of Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Male saffron-winged meadowhawk — Dan Jackson
photo of Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Male saffron-winged meadowhawk — David Hanson
photo of Male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Male saffron-winged meadowhawk — Vic Berardi
photo of Teneral male saffron-winged meadowhawk
Teneral male saffron-winged meadowhawk — Mike Reese
photo of Female saffron-winged meadowhawk
Female saffron-winged meadowhawk — Vic Berardi
photo of Female saffron-winged meadowhawk
Female saffron-winged meadowhawk — Vic Berardi
photo of Immature female saffron-winged meadowhawk
Immature female saffron-winged meadowhawk — Dan Jackson
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