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Meadowhawks

The natural history of Minnesota's Red Dragonflies
by

Scott King

on 4 July 2013

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Transcript of Meadowhawks

M E A D O W H A W K S
The Natural History of Minnesota's Red Dragonflies
What is a meadowhawk
?
This genus
was named by
Edward Newman in 1833
Meadowhawks
are known as Darters in
Europe

In Japan they're called
Aka-tombo
(red dragonfly)
World wide
there are sixty two species
in the genus Sympetrum
with the greatest diversity
in Japan and Asia.
There are fourteen species
in North America
Nine
of North America's
fourteen species can be found in Minnesota
with two
additional species found
in neighboring
states
A
meadowhawk
is a small dragonfly of the
genus Sympetrum—
a specialist of temporary
wetlands,
often encountered
on prairies
The evolution & biogeography of the genus Sympetrum is a complex and shaped both by vicariance and dispersal. Many of our North American species have their orgins in Asia.
Preliminary estimates of the divergence dates of Sympetrum species groups suggests a rapid radiation at approximately 32-38 million years ago, possibly influenced by cooling and drying climates of the late Eocene and early Oligocene.
One of the more evolved dragonflies!
The Meadowhawk Lifecyle
Eggs
are deposited
in water
or in dry basins
that will fill with
snow melt
Sept.
Spring
Photoperiod and/or
temperature controlled
diapause of eggs
prevents hatching until
spring
Meadowhawks overwinter
as eggs (the only other
odonates to do this are the Spreadwing Damselflies).
The eggs hatch as
temperature and light
increase in spring.
Winter
Nymphs develop
rapidly and adults
emerge
mid to late
summer
June
Adults segregate,
often moving to prairies and meadows
to feed. When mature they return to ponds to mate
July
Autumn Meadowhawks
are noted for being
frost and freeze hardy
and will often
survive into November
Nov.
Eye spot of developing larvae!
Ruby Meadowhawk eggs
These eggs overwintered
in my refrigerator
Ruby Meadowhawk nymph
White-faced Meadowhawk
July 2011
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk
perched on prairie bush clover
September, 2012
Variegated Medowhawk
(Sympetrum corruptum)
April 5, 2012
mature male
Red-veined Meadowhawk
(Sympetrum madidum)
Roseau County
July, 2012
These wings flew nearly
1000 miles!
The Three Amigos
or
Los Tres Diablos?
MOSP
Minnesota Odonata Survey Project
Founded and directed by Kurt Mead
Offers workshops and training for citizen scientists
Since 2006 the MOSP has gathered thousands of new county records and added substantially to our knowledge of damselflies and dragonflies in Minnesota
The Minnesota Odonata Survey Project has received support from the USFWS State Wildlife Grants Program, the Minnesota Game and Fish Heritage Enhancement Fund, and the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Fund through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Ecological Resources.
www.mndragonfly.org
Autumn Meadowhawk
Lily Lake
October 2012
ODONATA CENTRAL
Online database for North and South America
PRAIRIE BIOTIC RESEARCH, INC.
A nonprofit organization that provides funding for
basic biological research of prairies.
Dragonfly equivalent of e-birder & e-butterfly
County checklists & species distribution maps
Photographic records are vetted by experts
www.odonatacentral.com
Small grants program for non-affiliated scientists
In 2011, I received a grant to study the Red-veined Meadowhawk (Sympetrum madidum)
that inhabits the Tallgrass Aspen Parkland
in northwestern Minnesota
www.prairiebioticresearch.org
MOSP HIGHLIGHTS
Nineteen species, previously unknown from Minnesota, have been added to the state list.
One species removed from the state list.
Workshops are known to turn children into dragonfly experts.
Catching dragonflies with nets is known to turn adults back into children.
Author of Dragonflies of the North Woods
Cherry-faced Meadowhawk
(Sympetrum internum)
White-faced Meadowhawk
(Sympetrum obtrusum)
Ruby Meadowhawk
(Sympetrum rubicundulum)
Saffron-winged Meadowhawks
Prairie Wetlands Learning Center – Fergus Falls
MINNESOTA MEADOWHAWKS
Variegated Meadowhawk
Red-veined Meadowhawk
White-faced Meadowhawk
Cherry-faced Meadowhawk
Ruby Meadowhawk
Autumn Meadowhawk
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk
Band-winged Meadowhawk
Black Meadowhawk
ODONATA
Odonata is the order of insects that includes
damselfies and dragonflies

The word "Sympetrum" is comprised of two Greek words
"sympiezo" plus "etron"
"compressed" plus "abdomen"
because of the laterally compressed abdomen of this genus
not
"sym" plus "petros"
which is often reported in guidebooks
Pruinosity on mature meadowhawk females
No other meadowhawk has such a bulbous
abdomen — resembles a goldenrod gall
Red-veined Meadowhawk (Sympetrum madidum)
Lake Bronson State Park – June 2011
Range of the
Red-veined Meadowhawk
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk
Dakota County – October 2012
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk
Dakota County – Sept. 2012
Band-winged Meadowhawk
(Sympetrum semicinctum)
Dakota County – 2012
Sometimes there are a lot of meadowhawks!
Black Meadowhawk
(Sympetrum danae)
Lake of the Woods – July 2012
Black Meadowhawk
(Sympetrum danae)
Dakota County – Sept. 2012
Coming soon to a prairie near you...
Presentation and photographs by Scott King
Greek singer Nana Mouskouri singing the Japanese song Aka Tombo in 1976.

In this popular song, the singer is reminded,
very nostalgically, of the red dragonflies
he had first seen while being carried
on someone's back as a child.
And it's the color of the sunset
that reminds him of the color of the dragonflies.
An era or two before Meadowhawks!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Create or restore temporary ponds
Consider hosting an MOSP workshop
Volunteer with the MOSP
Consider hosting a Meadowhawk walk
There is still much to do...so think of helping out
Variegated Meadowhawk
St Olaf Natural Lands – 2012
hamules
MDP
Migratory Dragonfly Partnership
Partners Xerces Society & Odonata Central
Pond watch program for citizen scientists
www.migratorydragonflypartnership.org
Minnesota Odonatologists
1914: Arthur Whedon - Mankato
1960 - 70s: Charles Hamrum - Gustavus Adolphus
1980s: John Haarstad - Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
Full transcript