Random Insect: Meadowhawk dragonfly

Meadowhawk dragonfly (Odonata: Libellulidae: Sympetrum) photographed 07/10/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

The other day I braved the mosquitoes, deer flies, 95F temperature, and blazing sun to sit motionless in a Michigan sedge meadow and wait for flying insects to alight nearby.  I was rewarded with some interesting specimens, especially dragonflies and damselflies.  Perhaps the most visually stunning was this meadowhawk dragonfly (OdonataLibellulidaeSympetrum sp.).

Meadowhawk dragonfly (Odonata: Libellulidae: Sympetrum) photographed 07/10/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

The most obvious way to distinguish dragonflies of the family Libellulidae is to look at the rear wings near the body.  The veins form a distinct “foot” shape in this area.  If you look closely at the photo above, you can discern this shape on the rear right wing next to the body.  The top of the “foot” is facing the body, and the “toes” are pointed towards the rear of the insect.

Meadowhawk dragonfly (Odonata: Libellulidae: Sympetrum) photographed 07/10/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

There were a lot of these meadowhawks buzzing around this wet meadow, probably mating and hunting other flying insects.  Young dragonfly nymphs are aquatic, and the adults seldom stray far from water.  Both the larvae and adults are predaceous on other insects, and often consume pests like mosquitoes.  Since they’re beautiful in appearance, don’t bite people, and eat pest insects, they can be considered rather beneficial to humans.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Random Insect: Meadowhawk dragonfly

  1. Pingback: Random Insect: Blue-tipped dancer | The Life of Your Time

  2. Pingback: Random Insect: Widow skimmer dragonfly | The Life of Your Time

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s