Nature's Focus: The Band-winged Meadowhawk Dragonfly

Band-winged Meadowhawk Dragonfly
All photos by Thomas W. Gorman

By Thomas W. Gorman

    One species of dragonfly which is common throughout the most of the United States and may be seen throughout the northern half of New Jersey is one which is called the Band-winged Meadowhawk.

    This small dragonfly is actually one which is beautifully colored as the male has a bright red abdomen with black markings underneath and on segments 8 & 9, which are near the end of the abdomen, there are black markings on the top of that abdominal area.
The female coloring is fainter and more along the lines of greenish yellow with a minor red wash to the abdomen.  The juvenile’s abdomen mostly is a soft yellow brown with a hint of red dorsally.  In all cases it seems that their eyes and face are a dark reddish hue and their legs are black.


    The primary identifier for this beautiful dragonfly is the amber colored basal patches on its hind wings, which is quite prominent and take up about one-third of the wing.  The forewings are much less noticeable and may be nearly transparent.

    Normally this species can be easily found pretty much anywhere water and vegetation is together, such as weedy ponds, narrow streams and marshes.  In the case of the photos shown, these different individuals were found at the original property of the NJ state hatchery in Hackettstown, and there were dozens of this species cavorting all around the former trout


    Even though the NJ Odes web site indicates this species as “one of our less common meadowhawks”, those found at the old hatchery were definitely in high numbers recently.  For more detailed information about this species, the NJ Odes link below may be of help:

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