Dragonflies, Pacific Northwest
The Striped Meadowhawk Dragonfly is a small dragonfly with a length of up to 4 cm. Mature males are mostly red while immature males and females are greenish yellow to olive green. All are marked on each side of the thorax with a pair of diagonal yellowish stripes. When you see them flash in the sun, you might just think you are seeing rubies fly.
The wings are clear but may occasionally be clouded with yellow where they attach to the body. The legs may appear yellow with black spines.
Striped Meadowhawk Dragonflies are found from B.C. south to California and is quite common on the British Columbia coastal region. This dragonfly can be seen around small, often stagnant, semi permanent ponds and ditches. They fly from early July to early October. They like small ponds.
After mating, the female flies with the mail still attached and lays her eggs in ponds by dipping the tip her abdomen on the surface of the water. This is quite the feat, pretty awesome to watch them flying together.
The larvae is small with a length up to 2 cm, it is mottled green and brown in color. The abdomen has several slender, slightly curved hooks along the top, and the last two abdominal segments have a single, rear facing spine on each side. The larvae of this species and those of the red veined meadowhawk are extremely difficult to tell apart.
The larvae live in debris at the bottom of ponds. They do not actively pursue prey but wait for it to pass by. The larvae emerge as adults at night. They hunt flying insects from perches on rocks or bare branches. They like to bask on rocks to absorb heat early in the day.