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.
This species is readily separated from other meadowhawks by its black coloration in mature specimens, and is the only small, dark, late-season dragonfly in Wisconsin. The length of the body varies from 0.8 to 0.9 inches. The female and immature black meadowhawks have yellow markings. The male has a dark face and no red markings. Males have small yellow markings along the sides of its abdomen that diminish with age.
Common throughout Canada and northern United States, including mountains in the west, this species prefers a variety of wetlands, including bogs, fens, marshes, and sometimes ponds or lakes. It is infrequently found in Wisconsin, being most common in the north.
Late July to mid-October in Wisconsin.