Sympetrum Newman, 1833 (Libellulidae) -Meadowhawks

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

Notes on theMichigan Species of Sympetrum

Ten of the 15 species of Sympetrum in North Americanorth 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 sprawlersand climbers, mottled with green and brown (Walker and Corbet1975). Most species are lentic,generally collected from circumneutral ponds, though S. costiferum maysometimes be encountered in bogs (Kormondy 1958), and the holarctic species such as S. danae in marshy pondsand bogs on peaty soils (Walker and Corbet1975). Sympetrum larvae closelyresemble those of Leucorrhinia but haveunpigmented abdominal sterna and lack a middorsal spine on abdominalsegment 3.

Tai (1967) observed that the eggs of somespecies undergo obligatory diapause in development, low watertemperatures apparently triggering embryonic development. Eggs canalso survive dessication, thus some species can develop in temporarywater bodies (e.g., Cannings 1980). Like other species (e.g., Tramea, Pantala) with larvaedeveloping 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 aremulitvoltine, and Whitehouse(1941), Turner (1965) and Opler (1971) suggested this may be the result of one migratorypopulation, 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 aslate as October and early November.

Other links with information on the biology orecology of larval Sympetrum:
Briefhabitat notes from Ottawa, Ontario>>

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Michigan SpeciesList

Map 1Map 2Map 3
Map 4Map 5Map 6
Map7Map 8Map 9
Map 10
Maps 1-10: County distribution of the Michigan species of
Click on map for larger image

Sympetrum ambiguum (Rambur, 1842) - Blue-faced Meadowhawk - Map 1
Sympetrum corruptum (Hagen,1861) - Variegated Meadowhawk - Map2
Sympetrum costiferum (Hagen,1861) - Saffron-winged Meadowhawk - Map3
Sympetrum danae (Sulzer, 1776) - Black Meadowhawk - Map 4
Sympetrum internum Montgomery,1943 - Cherry-faced Meadowhawk - Map5
Sympetrum obtrusum (Hagen,1867) - White-faced Meadowhawk - Map6
Sympetrum occidentale Bartenev, 1915 - Western Meadowhawk - Map 7
Sympetrum rubicundulum (Say,1839) - Ruby Meadowhawk - Map 8
Sympetrum semicinctum (Say,1839) - Band-winged Meadowhawk - Map9
Sympetrum vicinum (Hagen,1861) - Yellow-legged Meadowhawk - Map10

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

1a. Mid-dorsal abdominalhooks absent (picture); legs annulated (picture); distal margin ofpalpal lobes smooth (picture) - S.corruptum

1b. Mid-dorsalabdominal 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-dorsalabdominal 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 laterallength of that segment (including length of spine); legs annulated,thorax with brown stripe, wing sheaths brown basally -S. occidentale

3b. Nomid-dorsal abdominal hook on segment 4; lateral spines of abdominalsegment 9 less than 0.375x the lateral length of that segment(including length of spine) - 4
Back to previous couplet(2); Back to beginning ofkey

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

4b. Lateralspines on abdominal segment 9 about 0.2x the lateral length of thatsegment (including length of spine) - S. internum
Caution - charactermay not be apparent, and distinguishing species may not bepossible
Back to previous couplet(3); Back to beginning ofkey

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

5b. Mid-dorsalabdominal hook present on segment 4 - 6
Back to previous couplet(2); Back to beginning ofkey

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

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

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 distinctlyincurvate (picture); cerci 0.5x as long as paraprocts (picture);paraprocts not acuminate (picture) - S. semicinctum

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

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

8b. Lateralspines on abdominal segment 9 greater than 0.33x the lateral lengthof segment 9 - 9
Back to previous couplet(6); Back to beginning ofkey

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

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

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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 Sympetrummadidum (Hagen) in British Columbia,Canada (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Notulae Odonatologicae1(6):97-99.

Hagen, H. A. 1861.Synopsis of the Neuroptera of North America, with a list of the SouthAmerican species. SmithsonianMiscellaneous Collections4:1-347.

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. MiscellaneousPublications, 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 ofLadona (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Bulletin of American odonaology 1(3):51-56.

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

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

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

Rambur, J. P. 1842. Histoire naturelledes insectes neuroptères. LibraireEncyclopédique de Roret, Paris. 534 pp.

Say, T. 1839. Descriptions of new North Americanneuropterous insects and observations on some already described by(the late) Th. Say. Journal of the Academy of Natural Science ofPhiladelphia 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-PacificEntomologist 41:66-67.

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

Whitehouse, F. C.1941. British Columbia dragonflies (Odonata), with notes ondistriubtion and habits. AmericanMidland Naturalist 26:488-557.

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