Length: typically 28-32 mm
This dragonfly is at home on Hudson Bayand in Alaska and the Yukon and Labrador and around all five Great Lakes. It makes it into northern and central Pennsylvania, too, but then there is a gap in the range, and it appears again in a small pocket of the Appalachian highlands: in Tucker and Pendleton Counties in West Virginia, and in Maryland's Garrett County and Virginia's Highland County.
Mature males of this species are black with subdued red spots on the abdomen. The last several segments of the abdomen are all-black. The red coloration is also seen on the thorax. The eyes are brownish, the face white, and a dense pubescence is on the thorax. A slight pubescence may be seen on the abdomen, too.
Females and immature males are similar, but instead of pale red coloration they have yellow.
In West Virginia look for these in highland bogs. July would be a good time to look. If you find them in a county other than Pendleton or Tucker, be sure to report your findings.
Donald F. Hilton (1984) undertook a capture-mark-release study in a Quebec bog. Hilton found that males defended a territory of about one square meter; males flew up to intercept intruding males, or did a wing flutter display until the other male left. Neither males nor females were seen to feed at the oviposition site; they directed all their energies to mating and egg-laying.
Male competition for mating with females was intense. Hilton told of one female that "copulated with male #6 for 12 minutes, 28 seconds after which they flew to the oviposition site where three males tried to grasp her. Male #6 flew back and forth trying to chase them away and was successful for a few seconds before male #15 succeeded in seizing the female in tandem. They copulated for 15 minutes, 10 seconds and again flew to the oviposition site whereupon she was immediately grasped by an unmarked male and the pair flew out of sight in the wheel position."
|With this species look for a bright white face, extensive pale red on the thorax, and reddish spots on the abdomen.|
|Mating pair, the male with red markings and the female with yellow.|