Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Sympetrum internum  Montgomery, 1943
Cherry-faced 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 black meadowhawk, have red markings, including females in some species.


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S4    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

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.

Description of Habitat/Range:

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.

Flight Season:

Mid-June to mid-September in Wisconsin.

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 cherry-faced meadowhawk
Male cherry-faced meadowhawk. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Male cherry-faced meadowhawk
Male cherry-faced meadowhawk. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Male cherry-faced meadowhawk
Male cherry-faced meadowhawk. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Immature male cherry-faced meadowhawk
Immature male cherry-faced meadowhawk. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Female dark-winged red-form cherry-faced meadowhawk
Female dark-winged red-form cherry-faced meadowhawk. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Female cherry-faced meadowhawk
Female cherry-faced meadowhawk. © Dennis Paulson

Photo of Immature female cherry-faced meadowhawk
Immature female cherry-faced meadowhawk. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Cherry-faced meadowhawk pair
Cherry-faced meadowhawk pair. © Dan Jackson

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