Sympetrum madidum
(Red-Veined Meadowhawk)

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

   Naiad- This is a small naiad with a length of 5/8 inch (16 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 nymphs of this species and those of the Striped Meadowhawk (Sympetrum pallipes) are extremely difficult to tell apart.
   Adult- This is a medium-sized dragonfly (but large for this genus) with a length of 1 5/8 to 1 13/16 inches (40 to 45 mm). The abdomen is quite slender. This species is distinguished from other Sympetrums by the gold to red clouding of its wings and red wing veins. Males are red on the face and abdomen, while the thorax is dark and marked with two yellow spots on each side. Females are yellowish brown. Each side of the thorax is marked with a pair of yellowish white stripes, and the top of the abdomen is marked with horizontal and vertical lines, making it appear much like a plaid pattern.

This species occurs from the Northwest Territories of Canada east to Manitoba, extending south into the U.S. to northern California, Idaho, and Montana. In Idaho, it has only been documented to occur in the southeastern part of the state.

This dragonfly can be found near shallow, marshy ponds and lakes.

Adult Flight Season:
Mid-June to mid-September

   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.

The naiads live in debris on the bottom of ponds and lakes. They do not actively pursue prey but wait for it to pass by, a strategy which affords them protection from other predators. Naiads emerge as adults at night. Although records are sparse, adults of this species are believed to fly from mid-June to mid-September. 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. This species seems to be relatively uncommon over most of its range.

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

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

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.