Saturday, October 17, 2015

Coastal BC Insects: Cardinal Meadowhawk

Cardinal Meadowhawk

Nanton Lake, BC
Wayne and I were kayaking on Nanton Lake when I got a hitchhiker on the towel I use to keep sun off my lap. The dragonfly was quite large and bright red.

After some research, I believe it was a Cardinal Meadowhawk (Sympetrum illota). Meadowhawks are common in British Columbia. Cardinal Meadowhawks are found flying more often late in the summer season. Based on the brilliant red colour of my guest, I think it was a male. Females are also red, but not quite so intense.

Cardinal Meadowhawk dragonfly resting on my kayak.

They can be seen flying around ponds, parks and yards. Meadowhawks rest with their transparent wings held in a forward position. Look for them on the ground, low plants, or even moving kayaks.

Dragonflies either mate in flight or while perched on plants. The eggs are either dropped from the air, or placed in the water as the female swoops down, touching the surface. Larvae hatch to become aquatic nymphs before going through metamorphosis into their aerial adult form. The nymphs (naiads) feed on tadpoles, invertebrates, and even small fish. Adult dragonflies feed mostly on flying insects including their brothers, sisters, and cousins. -- Margy

References: Bugs of British Columbia (Lone Pine Publishing, 2001) by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon, and Insects of the Pacific Northwest (Timber Press Field Guide, 2006) by Peter Haggard and Judy Haggard, and E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia online.

11 comments:

  1. Interesting post on this critter. I did not realized that they can be red in color.

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    1. I'd never seen a red one before either. - Margy

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  2. Aren't they sweet?! We have quite a few. I keep having to fish them out of the goldfish pond!
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

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    1. I find small damselflies caught in the carnivorous sundew plants, but I don't find any dragonflies. Guess they are too big to catch. - Margy

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  3. what a beautiful view off your kayak. :)

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    1. It's fun especially in such calm water. - Margy

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  4. Pretty dragonfly, it is nice it dropped by your kayak for a rest. Lovely view and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

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    1. I was surprised he stuck around so long. - Margy

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  5. Wow how brave i would not dare it !

    Have a nice abc-dat/week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

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    1. The only hard part is getting in and out without getting wet. Once inside the kayak is very stable. - Margy

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  6. How funny you posted about the red dragonfly. I land neer me last week and I thought he/she was so beautiful and unusual being so red and all that I took several pictures and will post it tomorrow. well Saturday. Cardinal Meadowhawk it is.
    MB

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