Gracing the shores of Sanctuary Marsh flits the easily spooked, yet expectedly-present autumn meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicimum
). An unseasonal animal, the insect darts gently from fallen leaf to rock to conveniently placed log. A nighttime low of 40 degrees is no match for the delicate baby-beast of the northeast [Ohio]. This past summer you may have spotted the ruby meadowhawk (Sympetrum rubicundulum
), a calmer and more easily approached black-legged version of the autumn meadowhawk. Notably, an outdated yet alternate name for the autumn meadowhawk is the yellow-legged meadowhawk. Both meadowhawks, however, are dipped in shades of un-ignorable reds.
|One of the latest occurring dragonflies, it is not uncommon for the autumn meadowhawk to be seen after the first frost. Look for a red thorax and abdomen, clear wings, with a body length of ~1.25 inches.
Of the 113 species of dragonfly occurring in Ohio, 50 have been documented in Cleveland Metroparks! Can you find them all? Download, A Checklist of the Dragonflies & Damselflies
of Cleveland Metroparks for relative abundance and period of time when the flying adults of a given species can be spotted. Field tip: Your best chances for seeing these creatures on the wing are on sunny days during the warmer months.
-Marty Calabrese, Naturalist
about dragonflies and their prehistoric roots.