Sympetrum obtrusum (Hagen, 1867)
NatureServe Global Rank: G5
Virginia State Rank: S2
VA DGIF Tier: IV
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: The White-faced Meadowhawk is about 1.3 inches long. The male has a white face with reddish-brown eyes, sometimes with a green hue. The thorax is brown and unmarked, but occasionally has faint light sots near the lower front side. The abdomen is red with black triangular markings on the sides. The female has a yellowish face with reddish brown eyes on top and a green-gray coloration on the bottom. The thorax is similar to the male and the abdomen is tan with a black line occupying the same space as the black triangles in the male. Rarely, females can be red instead of tan.
Similar species: The male White-faced Meadowhawk is very similar to the Cherry-faced (Sympetrum internum) and Ruby Meadowhawks (Sympetrum rubicundulum) but has a white face instead of red/tan or light brown, respectively. Immature males can only be distinguished by looking at hamules. The females have slight differences from these same two species but can only be separated with certainty by looking at the sungenital plates. The White-faced Meadowhawk has flat plates parallel to the abdomen, while those of the Cherry-faced Meadowhawk have outward pointing tips and those of the Ruby Meadowhawk have obvious bulges although otherwise parallel to the abdomen.
North American Range: The White-faced Meadowhawk is a northern species that ranges from southern Canada to Maryland and Kentucky, and then to the west. There are records from western and northern Virginia.
VA Observations by Locality: Giles | Highland | Highland | Prince William
Flight season and broods: It can be found from June to October.
Aquatic Habitat: It prefers shallow marshes and ponds, both ephemeral and permanent, as well as similar habitats on the edges of larger bodies of water. It is often associated with forested areas.
Behavior and Ecology: The White-faced Meadowhawk can exist in dense populations in large sedge meadows. Copulation is lengthy as pairs are often seen together, at times more often than individuals. Females drop eggs in shallow water or on mud and sometimes lay eggs while perched on overhanging leaves. The males guard the females while ovipositing occurs. Foraging occurs in low weedy areas.
Population trend and potential threats: Habitat destruction is a threat to this species.
Management practices: Populations should be monitored and habitats preserved.
References: Bangma, J. 2003. The Dragonflies and Damselflies of New Jersey. http://njodes.com/Speciesaccts/species.asp . Accessed: 4/8/2013
Dunkle, Sydney W. 2000. Dragonflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America. Oxford
University Press, New York, NY. 266 pp.
LeGrand, H., E. Corey and T. Howard. The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina. http://www.dpr.ncparks.gov/odes/a/accounts.php. Accessed: 4/8/2013
Paulson, Dennis. 2011. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 530 pp.
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources: Wildlife Diversity Program. Dragonflies and Damselflies of West Virginia. http://martes.dnr.state.wv.us/Odonata/default.aspx Accessed: 4/8/2013
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM