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Autumn Meadowhawk

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Sympetrum vicinum

Hagen, 1861

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Libellulidae
Genus Sympetrum
Species vicinum (Hagen, 1861) [Diplax]


This is a smaller, more delicate, but widely distributed meadowhawk. Its face is yellowish, but it becomes red in older males. The thorax is darker in front and greenish brown laterally with no markings. The wings are clear with a slight hint of amber at the extreme base in each wing. The legs are pale yellow with no black. The abdomen is uniform brown but becomes red along with the front of the thorax in mature males. The female has a ventrally projecting scoop-shaped subgenital plate that becomes more pronounced after laying eggs.


Total length: 26-35 mm; abdomen: 18-23 mm; hindwing: 20-25 mm.

Similar Species

This is the only meadowhawk in our region with a pale face and legs and clear wings. Blue-faced Meadowhawk (S. ambiguum ) has blue on top of the head and black markings on the thorax and legs. Saffron-winged Meadowhawk (S. costiferum ) is larger, has more amber in the wings and black on the legs. Young male and female Plateau Dragonlets (Erythrodiplax basifusca ) are smaller and the females have stockier abdomens.


Permanent ponds and slow flowing streams.


This thin-legged species flies in the late summer and early fall. It is found throughout the region. Carle (1993 ) included Louisiana in his distribution for the species, but could not recall the source of his data. Although it is to be expected in the northern part of that state, Mauffray (1997 ) listed it as doubtful from Louisiana. Individuals of Yellow-legged Meadowhawk tend to perch higher up on vegetation, such as bushes and grasses, than many other meadowhawks. They tend to only breed in permanent waters, including slow streams and ponds. Females lay eggs in tandem along the bank by tapping the abdomen alternately against the water and then the bank.


Southern Canada and throughout the U.S. except southwest.