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Autumn Meadowhawks Mating

Meadowhawks are the only small red dragonflies seen in New England (most males are red, most females are brown).The latest species of dragonfly flying in the fall in this area is the Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum), which doesn’t emerge until mid-summer. It seems a bit incongruous to observe these dragonflies not only flying, but mating and laying eggs in late October, but that is exactly when you can expect to see them. Until there have been several hard frosts, these winged masters of the air are able to keep active by basking in the sun and warming their flight muscles. The two pictured Autumn Meadowhawks are copulating in the typical “mating wheel” fashion, with the male grasping the female behind her head while the female places the tip of her abdomen at the spot on his abdomen (the seminal vesicle) where he stores his sperm. The female Autumn Meadowhawk lays her eggs in tandem with the male (his presence prevents other male meadowhawks from replacing his sperm with their own).

5 responses

  1. Saw a large green and brown striped dragonfly laying eggs around my small pond a few days ago, here in central NH. Any ideas?

    October 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    • I’m afraid I’m not enough of a dragonfly expert to hazard a guess without a photograph!

      October 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm

  2. Elizabeth

    Very athletic-looking mating. Have they been reading the Meadowhawk Karma Sutra?

    October 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm

  3. I think our latest date for Autumn Meadowhawks in Ottawa, Canada is November 21st. Whenever I see one at this time of year I usually stop to photograph it, for it could be the last of the season. They are certainly aptly named!

    November 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm

  4. cracking shot,the look alot like our darters

    November 24, 2012 at 8:42 am

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