05 November 2005

The last meadowhawks of summer

It was another unseasonably warm fall day here in Michigan, with temperatures around 70F. As usual, the last species of dragonfly on the wing was the Autumn (Yellow-legged) Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum). They are not uncommon in early November, if the weather stays warm; the late date for a specimen in southeast Michigan is November 9. Nonetheless, I was a little surprised to see this hopeful pair flying around in tandem today. They seemed...tired.

S. vicinum is one of the several lookalike Sympetrum. But the females are very easy to identify, with just a glance. They have spout-shaped ovipositors, seen here on this female in profile.

The temperatures are not going to get drastically cold the next week, but it will turn rainy and windy. These are probably the last dragonflies I'll see this season, at least here in Michigan. I'll be going to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas over Thanksgiving. This has become something of a tradition for the Urban Dragon Hunters. Odonata are not plentiful there this time of year, but the butterflies can be good and you never know what interesting bird might show up.

Farewell, little red odes of summer. See you next year.

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