Sympetrum rubicundulum

Ruby Meadowhawk

Ruby Meadowhawk, Sympetrum rubicundulum

Family: Libellulidae

Length: typically 33-37 mm


The Ruby Meadowhawk is a common species in the Mountain State. It makes its home in marshy areas and temporary pools, and only occasionally in lakes or true bogs.

Sympetrum rubicundulum is primarily a summer species, sometimes active into early autumn.

These dragons perch on weed tops, darting out to capture prey. They sometimes bask directly on the ground.

Males maintain territories among the emergent plants along the water's edge; Dunkle (2000) estimates these territories as about two meters in diameter.

Ruby Meadowhawk, Sympetrum rubicundulum face

Females usually oviposit alone, though occasionally in tandem. While in flight they drop the eggs into the shore plants within a meter of the water.

This species is extremely similar to the Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum), a species that is scarce in West Virginia. Immature White-faced Meadowhawks (S. obtrusum) are also similar, but the mature White-faced Meadowhawks have a bright white face, while Ruby Meadowhawks have a brownish face.

Ruby Meadowhawk, Sympetrum rubicundulum dorsal view

Insects of West Virginia