Identification criteria of dragonflies of the genus Sympetrum occurring in Michigan. 

(Table from Kielb, 1996)

Scientific name

Common name

Hind Wing

Abdomen Length

Total Length

Face

Tibiae
Sympetrum ambiguum  Blue-faced Meadowfly 

26-28

23-25

36-38
bluish-white  yellow 
Sympetrum corruptum Variegated Meadowfly 

29-30

29-30

39-42
red  dark 
Sympetrum costiferum  Saffron-winged Meadowfly 

25-28

21-26

31-37
pale  pale 
Sympetrum danae**  Black Meadowfly 

20-27

18-24

21-23
black  black 
Sympetrum internum  Cherry-faced Meadowfly 

23-27

23-27

23-36
red  black 
Sympetrum obtrusum  White-faced Meadowfly 

20-29

22-26

31-39
white  black 
Sympetrum rubicundulum  Ruby Meadowfly 

24-30

21-23

33-34
yellow  black 
Sympetrum semicinctum***  Band-winged Meadowfly 

18-23

16-20

24-31
yellow  black 
Sympetrum vicinum  Yellow-legged Meadowfly 

21-23

21-22

31-35
red  yellow 

All measurements are given in mm. 

*Distinctive abdominal color pattern mottled with reds and browns.

**Distinctive abdominal color pattern of black and yellow.

***Hind wings banded with translucent orange/yellow.

 


QUICK KEY

Visual key for quick tentative identification of dragonflies in the genus Sympetrum. (The final separation of many specimens in groups 5&6 still requires inspection of the genitalia.). Clicking on a link will bring up a photo of the species.

1a. Abdomen mottled in red and olive/brown......................corruptum
1b. Abdomen predominantly yellow, olive, orange, or reddish............2
2a. Abdomen color yellow and black......................................danae
2b. Abdomen reddish, orange, or olive and black.............................3
3a. Wings banded with transparent orange for half the length, basally ....................................................................semicinctum
3b. Wings unmarked...........................................................4
4a. Tibia pale or yellow..........................................................5
4b. Tibia dark or black...........................................................6
5a. Face red................................................................vicinum
5b. Face bluish-white or white........................................ambiguum
5c. Face pale............................................................costiferum
6a. Face red ..............................................................internum
6b. Face white ...........................................................obtrusum
6c. Face yellow.................................................... rubicundulum