Monday, August 17, 2009

Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum)

The amber wash at the base of the wings makes Band-winged Meadowhawks easy to identify in the field. Based on my amateur observations, these meadowhawks seem to be less common locally than other Sympetrum species. This female was photographed in a garden a few hundred feet from water.

Females perching on vegetation on the shore of the Moira River, at the southeast corner of the dam. Upon further exploration I found that this is a favoured breeding site. Despite the Band-winged Meadowhawk's seeming scarcity at other locales this species is certainly plentiful in this small area, and over the course of a few weeks I observed several dozen mating and ovipositing pairs.

Views of a male

A female, still held in the grip of the male, ovipositing in the still, stagnant pools of water along the river shoreline. The bottom consists of large rocks, the spaces between them filled with mud and debris consisting of decaying leaves and sticks. I also observed the female ovipositing on her own, but still under the watchful eye of her mate. There were at least two other males present, and the male in these photos was constantly being contested for breeding and territorial rights.

A few more photos of male Band-winged Meadowhawks, taken at a later date than the pictures above. The population seems biased in favour of males, which outnumber the females by about three to one.

Perching on a Cardinal Flower, camouflaged against the red background ...

... and caught in action at the moment of taking flight.

Front and lateral views of a male

A mating pair in the wheel position

Closeup of the female gripped by the male's claspers