Sunday, February 7, 2010

Meadowhawks

One of the dragonflies that I typically see late in the year is the Autumn meadowhawk. These dragons are often still flying into November, as long as we do not get a hard frost, these pics where taken in October. According to the book Dragonflies of the North Woods, by Kurt Mead, autumn meadowhawks can survive, meaning fly and feed, at temps slightly below 50 degrees.
Unlike many of the other red meadowhawks, mature males are red in color while mature females are either red or gold and immature are usually gold, autumn meadowhawks are easily identified by the color of their legs. Other meadowhawks have black legs while the autumn meadowhawk has yellow legs, which is why they were formerly known as the yellow-legged meadowhawk.
I am not sure which type of meadowhawk are in the photo above, I know that they are not autumn meadowhawks because they have black legs. These dragons are in what is referred to as the wheel position. The male, who is red, holds the female behind the head with his claspers. Before entering into the a tandem position the male will transfer sperm from testes, which are located on the bottom of abdomen segment nine, to his hamulus, which is located on the bottom of segments 2 and 3. the female will then arch her abdomen up to his hamulus to accept the sperm. Afterwards she will lay the fertilized eggs in the water, often while he guards to make sure that she does not copulate with another male until after she finishes laying the eggs.

5 comments:

Kala said...

Beautiful macros of these dragonflies.

ksdoolittle said...

I'm loving it! Great information. Meadowhawks are numerous and so difficult to id. Perfect pictures. Thanks.~ks

KaHolly said...

Beautiful shot of the Autumn Meadowhawk. I love learning about dragonflies! ~karen

Manang Kim said...

Wow as always you have a great macro photos!

Macro-Dama de noche

Nishant said...

What a very handsome bird he is! Lovely shot!

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