The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

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Related Species in LIBELLULIDAE: Number of records added in 2021 = 5

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Ruby Meadowhawk (Sympetrum rubicundulum) main photo: John Petranka; larger inset photo: Scott King. 2015-08-21 Rice County, MN; smaller inset photo: Curt Oien
Compare with: Autumn Meadowhawk   White-faced Meadowhawk   Band-winged Meadowhawk   Cherry-faced Meadowhawk  
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and females.
Male White-faced, Cherry-faced, and Ruby Meadowhawks cannot be identified reliably without a clear closeup photo of the hamule; see inset photo below.

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distribution Throughout the mountains and foothills of the Piedmont, and also present in the northern half of the Piedmont; records south to Wake, Chatham, Davie, and Rutherford counties. Apparently absent from the southeastern portion of the Piedmont and all of the Coastal Plain.
abundance Fairly common, to locally common, in the mountains; uncommon in the foothills, but rare in the northern Piedmont east to Caswell and Guilford counties, and apparently very rare east to Wake County. Surprisingly there seems to be only one recent record for the Piedmont east of the foothills, suggesting a population decline there.
flight Unlike most other meadowhawks, this species flies mainly in summer. The mountain flight occurs from mid-May to late September. The Piedmont flight is similar -- late May to early October.
habitat Mainly breeds at temporary pools and ponds, marshes, and other small bodies of water.
behavior Adults forage away from these small pools, perching on twigs and other vegetation, often fairly low.
comments Considering the bright red color of the males, its habit of perching in somewhat conspicuous places, and its flight in the middle of the season when many people are out looking for odonates, the species is only infrequently reported away from the mountains, thus "corroborating" that it is definitely not a numerous dragonfly in most of the Piedmont. In fact, the great increase in the number of odonate watchers in the Piedmont strongly indicates that the species has declined east of the mountains, as Cuyler's many collections from the Piedmont have not been backed up by recent photos and observations. In this latter region, it is clearly outnumbered by Autumn and Blue-faced meadowhawks. Fortunately, it can be quite numerous in the mountains, and there are a few daily counts there of at least 30 individuals. NOTE: White-faced, Cherry-faced, and Ruby meadowhawks are very difficult to identify reliably from a single typical aspect photo. Whenever possible, clear closeup photographs of the male hamules or female subgenital plate should be provided.
state_status
S_rank S4
fed_status
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2021-02-10 15:12:42

Photo Gallery for Ruby Meadowhawk   23 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: John Petranka

Comment: Burke; M, 2020-09-16, In a small partially shaded pond just south of Jonas Ridge. - Both sexes.
Photo 2 by: John Petranka

Comment: Avery, 2019-09-19, Floodplain pools along Linville River, jct US 221 and Green Rd. near Crossnore. - 1 female and 1 male. Inset shows the female subgenital plate, which in this species is inflated basally and pointed dorsad apically. Perhaps not the clearest perspective to see those features here.
Photo 3 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn

Comment: Clay, 2019-09-04, Nantahala National Forest - males
Photo 4 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn

Comment: Clay, 2019-09-04, Nantahala National Forest - males
Photo 5 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn

Comment: Clay, 2019-09-04, Nantahala National Forest - males
Photo 6 by: John Petranka

Comment: Watauga, 2019-08-21, Boone Fork, Julian Price Park, Blue Ridge Parkway. In marshy area along Boone Fork Trail 0.36 miles north of the picnic area footbridge. - Males.
Photo 7 by: John Petranka

Comment: Watauga, 2018-08-05, Elk Knob State Park, small marshy pond. Elevation ca. 4,400 feet. - 7 males, 1 female including mating pair in wheel.
Photo 8 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Graham, 2018-07-02, Tulula Wetlands - female
Photo 9 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2017-09-22, Carrier Park, Asheville, 35.56731° N 82.56887° W - Male
Photo 10 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2017-09-22, Carrier Park, Asheville, 35.56731° N 82.56887° W - Male
Photo 11 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2017-08-06, Carrier Park, Asheville - Male
Photo 12 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Alleghany, 2016-09-07, Pond along Blue Ridge Parkway about 4.3 mi. north of US 21. Junction of BRP with Mountain View Rd. (State Rd. 1463). Photo.
Photo 13 by: Timothy Deering

Comment: Buncombe, 2016-06-16, Roberts Pond, Alexander
Photo 14 by: Doug Johnston, Vin Stanton

Comment: Graham, 2013-07-16, Tulula Bog - Male & Female
Photo 15 by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston, Gail Lankford, Janie Owen

Comment: Madison, 2012-06-15, North of Hot Springs on River Road-French Broad River
Photo 16 by: Jeff Covert

Comment: Burke; M, 2011-07-28, Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo 17 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2011-06-15, Fletcher Park, large field away from water - Male
Photo 18 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2010-07-06 - Beaver Lake, Asheville
Photo 19 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2009-08-30, Fletcher Park
Photo 20 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Graham, 2009-07-28 - female
Photo 21 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Watauga, 2007-07-12, male
Photo 22 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe, 2006-08-06, male
Photo 23 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe, 2006-07-27, female