Species of the Week: Autumn Meadowhawk

Photo by Adam Kalab

This week’s #SpeciesOfTheWeek is the Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum). It is the latest-flying dragonfly in Ontario. It typically flies until the first heavy frost, so in southern Ontario, it can be seen in November and even December. Male meadowhawks are distinctive as the only small red dragonflies in the area. Females and immature males are yellow or brown in colour. The Autumn Meadowhawk is also known as the Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, as the yellow legs readily distinguish it from other meadowhawks. As the name suggests, meadowhawks can often be seen flying around meadows in large swarms, and they are possibly the most abundant genera of dragonfly at Murphys Point. Some dragonflies can spend several years in their aquatic larval phase, but the Autumn Meadowhawk’s lifespan is short and sweet. Eggs are laid on muddy banks of lakes and ponds in the fall and hatch in the spring when water levels rise to cover them. The larvae develop quickly, and adults start emerging in July. Then, it’s a race to feed, mature, and find a mate. Autumn Meadowhawks oviposit in tandem, which means the male stays attached to the female during egg-laying, guarding her against other males who might try to mate with her. The eggs are laid, and the life cycle starts again.

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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