Sympetrum pallipes
(Striped Meadowhawk)


Order: Odonata
Suborder: Anisoptera
Order Description:
Dragonflies
Family: Libellulidae
Family Description: Meadowhawk

Description:
   Naiad- This is a small naiad with a length of 5/8 to 3/4 inch (16 to 18 mm). It is mottled green and brown in color. The abdomen has several slender, slightly curved hooks along the top, and the last two abdominal segments have a single, rear-facing spine on each side. The naiads of this species and those of the Red-Veined Meadowhawk (Sympetrum madidum) and the White-Faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum obtrusum) are extremely difficult to tell apart.
   Adult- This is a small dragonfly with a length of 1 3/8 to 1 1/2 inches (34 to 38 mm). Mature males are mostly red while immature males and females are greenish yellow to olive green. All are marked on each side of the thorax with a pair of diagonal yellowish stripes. The wings are clear but may occasionally be clouded with yellow where they attach to the body. The legs may appear yellow and have black spines.

Range:
This species is found from British Columbia east to Alberta, extending south into the U.S. to California east to Texas. It is common throughout Idaho.

Habitat:
This dragonfly can be found near small, often stagnant, semi-permanent ponds and ditches.

Adult Flight Season:
Early July to early October

Diet:
   Naiad- Naiads feed on a wide variety of aquatic insects, such as mosquito larvae, other aquatic fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and freshwater shrimp. They will also eat very small fish and tadpoles.
   Adult- The dragonfly will eat almost any soft-bodied flying insect including mosquitoes, flies, small moths, mayflies, and flying ants or termites.

Ecology:
The naiads live in debris of the bottom of ponds. They do not actively pursue prey but wait for it to pass by, a strategy which affords them protection from other predators. The naiads emerge as adults at night. Adults fly from early July to early October. They hunt flying insects from perches on rocks or bare branches. The Latin name for this genus, Sympetrum, means "with rock" and refers to their habit of basking on rocks to absorb heat early in the day.

Reproduction:
The female flies with the male still attached after mating (a position called "in tandem") and lays her eggs in ponds by dipping the tip her abdomen on the surface of the water.

Conservation:
Populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.
Status: Unprotected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S?

References:
Corbet, P. S. 1999. Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA, 829pp.

Logan, E. R. 1967. The Odonata of Idaho. Unpublished M. S. thesis. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA, 105 pp.

Needham, J. G. and M. J. Westfall. 1955. Dragonflies of North America. University of California Press, Berkely, California, USA, 615 pp.

Paulson, D. R. 1999. Dragonflies of Washington. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington, USA, 32 pp.

Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. III. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 307 pp.


Written by Mark Lung and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Photos by Dennis Paulson, 2001
Design by Ean Harker, 2001.