I am not certain if there are more dragonflies and damselflies this year, or if I simply am more attuned to them. For whatever reason, I seem to be finding more this year than in previous summers. Recently I wrote about the western meadowhawk (Sympetrum occidentale). Today I introduce another meadowhawk, subtly different from the western meadowhawk.
The striped meadowhawk (Sympetrum pallipes) is a resident of stagnant ponds, lakes and ditches from British Columbia east to Alberta, south along the Pacific Coast to California and east to Texas. It is also common in Idaho.
Striped meadowhawk males are mostly red while immature males and females are greenish yellow to olive in color. There are black marks low on the abdomen. The clear wings may have slight yellow clouding. There are velvety dots where the wings attach to the body. The face is pale. The striped and western meadowhawks can be compared by clicking the western meadowhawk link.
The larvae (niads) live in debris at the bottom of still water. The niads do not pursue prey, but rather wait for the aquatic insects, very small fish or tadpoles that make up their diet to pass. This strategy provides the niads with a degree of protection from predation.
Adult striped meadowhawk dragonflies will comsume any soft-bodied flying insect.
These western meadowhawks were along the shore of Lily Pond in Lassen Volcanic National Park (CA). Note the frayed edges on the wings. These male dragonflies are older and their wings are showing the effects of use.