Sympetrum Newman, 1833 (Libellulidae) - Meadowhawks


Notes - Michigan Species List - Key -References
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Page last updated: 06 August 1998 (EB)

Notes on the Michigan Species of Sympetrum

Ten of the 15 species of Sympetrum in North America north of Mexico have been recorded in Michigan (see maps below). Found amongst aquatic vegetation in shallow marshy bays, ponds, swamps and slow-moving streams, larvae are small, slender sprawlers and climbers, mottled with green and brown (Walker and Corbet 1975). Most species are lentic, generally collected from circumneutral ponds, though S. costiferum may sometimes be encountered in bogs (Kormondy 1958), and the holarctic species such as S. danae in marshy ponds and bogs on peaty soils (Walker and Corbet 1975). Sympetrum larvae closely resemble those of Leucorrhinia but have unpigmented abdominal sterna and lack a middorsal spine on abdominal segment 3.

Tai (1967) observed that the eggs of some species undergo obligatory diapause in development, low water temperatures apparently triggering embryonic development. Eggs can also survive dessication, thus some species can develop in temporary water bodies (e.g., Cannings 1980). Like other species (e.g., Tramea, Pantala) with larvae developing in ephemeral aquatic systems, larval growth can be rapid, with 7-10 instars completed in 57 to over 100 days. Walker and Corbet (1975) noted that S. corruptum are mulitvoltine, and Whitehouse (1941), Turner (1965) and Opler (1971) suggested this may be the result of one migratory population, one resident (see also Anax). One of last group of Michigan dragonflies to emerge, adults appear from late June through August and are seen flying as late as October and early November.

Other links with information on the biology or ecology of larval Sympetrum:
Brief habitat notes from Ottawa, Ontario >> http://www.cyberus.ca/~jdsankey/odon2.html

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Michigan Species List

Map 1 Map 2 Map 3
Map 4 Map 5 Map 6
Map 7Map 8 Map 9
Map 10
Maps 1-10: County distribution of the Michigan species of
Sympetrum
Click on map for larger image

Sympetrum ambiguum (Rambur, 1842) - Blue-faced Meadowhawk - Map 1
Sympetrum corruptum (Hagen, 1861) - Variegated Meadowhawk - Map 2
Sympetrum costiferum (Hagen, 1861) - Saffron-winged Meadowhawk - Map 3
Sympetrum danae (Sulzer, 1776) - Black Meadowhawk - Map 4
Sympetrum internum Montgomery, 1943 - Cherry-faced Meadowhawk - Map 5
Sympetrum obtrusum (Hagen, 1867) - White-faced Meadowhawk - Map 6
Sympetrum occidentale Bartenev, 1915 - Western Meadowhawk - Map 7
Sympetrum rubicundulum (Say, 1839) - Ruby Meadowhawk - Map 8
Sympetrum semicinctum (Say, 1839) - Band-winged Meadowhawk - Map 9
Sympetrum vicinum (Hagen, 1861) - Yellow-legged Meadowhawk - Map 10

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Key to the Mature Larvae of Michigan Sympetrum
Adapted from
Walker and Corbet (1975)

1a. Mid-dorsal abdominal hooks absent (picture); legs annulated (picture); distal margin of palpal lobes smooth (picture) - S. corruptum

1b. Mid-dorsal abdominal hooks present, at least on abdominal segments 5 - 7 (picture); legs variable - 2


2a.(1b). No mid-dorsal abdominal hook on segment 8 - 3

2b. Mid-dorsal abdominal hook present on segment 8 - 5
Back to previous couplet (1)


3a.(2a). Mid-dorsal abdominal hook present on segment 4; lateral spines of abdominal segment 9 at least 0.375x the lateral length of that segment (including length of spine); legs annulated, thorax with brown stripe, wing sheaths brown basally - S. occidentale

3b. No mid-dorsal abdominal hook on segment 4; lateral spines of abdominal segment 9 less than 0.375x the lateral length of that segment (including length of spine) - 4
Back to previous couplet (2); Back to beginning of key


4a.(3b). Lateral spines on abdominal segment 9 about 0.25x the lateral length of that segment (including length of spine) - S. danae

4b. Lateral spines on abdominal segment 9 about 0.2x the lateral length of that segment (including length of spine) - S. internum
Caution - character may not be apparent, and distinguishing species may not be possible
Back to previous couplet (3); Back to beginning of key


5a.(2b). No mid-dorsal abdominal hook on segment 4 - S. rubicundulum

5b. Mid-dorsal abdominal hook present on segment 4 - 6
Back to previous couplet (2); Back to beginning of key


6a.(5b). Lateral spines on abdominal segment 9 extending posteriorly beyond tips of cerci by at least 0.33x length of the cercus (picture) - 7

6b. Lateral spines on abdominal segment 9 extending posteriorly beyond tips of cerci by less than 0.33x, or not at all (picture) - 8
Back to previous couplet (5); Back to beginning of key


7a.(6a). Lateral spines wide, those of Ab8 scarcely 2.0x, and those of Ab9 2.5x, as long as their widths at base (picture); outer margins of lateral spines on abdominal segment 9 distinctly incurvate (picture); cerci 0.5x as long as paraprocts (picture); paraprocts not acuminate (picture) - S. semicinctum

7b. Lateral spines narrower, those of Ab8 > 2.0x, and those of Ab9 3.0x, as long as their widths at base, and both black-tipped (picture); outer margins of lateral spines on abdominal segment 9 straight (picture); cerci less than 0.5x as long as paraprocts (picture); paraprocts apically acuminate (picture) - S. vicinum
Back to previous couplet (6); Back to beginning of key


8a.(6b). Lateral spines on abdominal segment 9 about 0.25x the lateral length of segment 9 - S. obtrusum

8b. Lateral spines on abdominal segment 9 greater than 0.33x the lateral length of segment 9 - 9
Back to previous couplet (6); Back to beginning of key


9a.(8b). Dorsal hook on abdominal segment 8 extending posteriorly over about 0.5x the mid-dorsal length of tergite of segment 9 (picture) - S. ambiguum

9b. Dorsal hook on abdominal segment 8 extending posteriorly just barely beyond the anterior margin of tergite of segment 9 (picture) - S. costiferum
Back to previous couplet (8); Back to beginning of key

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References

Bartenev, A. N. 1915. American representatives of the genus Sympetrum. [In Russian]. Universitet Izviestija 46(1-5):1-24, pl. 1-4.

Cannings, R. A. 1980. Ecological notes on Sympetrum madidum (Hagen) in British Columbia, Canada (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Notulae Odonatologicae 1(6):97-99.

Hagen, H. A. 1861. Synopsis of the Neuroptera of North America, with a list of the South American species. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 4:1-347.

Hagen, H. A. 1867. Revision der von Herrn Uhler beschriebenen Odonaten. Stettiner entomologische Zeitung 28:87-95.

Kormondy, E. J. 1958. A catalogue of the Odonata of Michigan. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 104. 43pp.

Linne, C. 1758. Systema naturae. Editio decima reformata. Holmiae. 543 pp.

May, M. L. 1992. Morphological and ecological differences among species of Ladona (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Bulletin of American odonaology 1(3):51-56.

Montgomery, B. E. 1943. Sympetrum internum, new name for Sympetrum decisum Auct., nec Hagen (Odonata, Libellulidae). Canadian Entomologist 75(3):57-58.

Newman, E. 1833. The Entomologica Magazine. Westley, London. 532 pp, 4 pl (8 vo).

Opler, P. A. 1971. Mass movement of Tarnetrum corruptum (Odonata: Libellulidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 47:223.

Rambur, J. P. 1842. Histoire naturelle des insectes neuroptères. Libraire Encyclopédique de Roret, Paris. 534 pp.

Say, T. 1839. Descriptions of new North American neuropterous insects and observations on some already described by (the late) Th. Say. Journal of the Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia 8:9-46.

Sulzer, J. H. 1776. Abgekürtze Geschichte der Insekten nach dem Linaeischen System. 1. H. Steiner & Co.: Winterthur, Germany, 1:xxviii + 274 pp.; 2:[2] pp. + 32 pls.

Turner, P. E., Jr. 1965. Migration of the dragonfly, Tarnetrum corruptum (Hagen). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 41:66-67.

Walker, E. M. and J. S. Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. 3. University of Toronto Press: Toronto. xvi + 308.

Whitehouse, F. C. 1941. British Columbia dragonflies (Odonata), with notes on distriubtion and habits. American Midland Naturalist 26:488-557.

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