Autumn Meadowhawks (males and females)

Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) is a member of the Skimmer Family of dragonflies that is commonly spotted during the fall months at many water bodies in the mid-Atlantic United States, such as the vernal pools and central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park.

The first individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages. By the first week in November, fall foliage is past peak color and the ground is covered almost completely by leaf litter.

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

04 NOV 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Autumn Meadowhawk (male)

The following photo shows another male, spotted a couple of weeks earlier.

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

21 OCT 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Autumn Meadowhawk (male)

The next Autumn Meadowhawk is a female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages. Female abdomens are slightly thicker than those of males and noticeably flared toward both the thorax and tip of the abdomen. The “subgenital plate,” located under the ninth abdominal segment (S9), is a large scoop-like structure used for laying eggs (exophytic oviposition).

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 OCT 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Autumn Meadowhawk (female)

The last individual is another female. Regular readers of my photoblog know I’m especially fond of head-tilts in which the dragonfly seems to display some of its personality.

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 OCT 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Autumn Meadowhawk (female)

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to “Autumn Meadowhawks (males and females)”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    It won’t be long before these beautiful Autumn Meadowhawks are the sole survivors, the last remaining dragonflies of the season. With a little luck we’ll continue to see them well into December.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I observed a few today at the Sunrise Valley Wetlands in Reston, I was just going to try referencing them on your site and you beat me to it. Thanks for all the photos and info.
    Dave Young , Reston, Va.

    • waltersanford Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Dave. You know, it’s not easy being both a dragonfly whisperer *and* clairvoyant! But seriously, I’m glad my blog was helpful. Can you send me a pointer to a Web site for the wetlands area you mentioned? Thanks!

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