Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Saffron-winged Meadowhawk

Saffron-winged Meadowhawks are among the last meadowhawks to appear, emerging from June through October. These photos show their ovipositing in tandem over shallow water in the Straight River at the River Bend Nature Center on 13 September 2013. To guard their mates from the attentions of others, the males attach themselves to the females' necks. As you can see in the lower photo, pairs often attract other couples, “until there can be quite a crowd” (King). The female repeatedly dips her abdomen into the water, sometimes a half-dozen times, before the pair move along the shore. (The algae-covered rocks in the lower photo are all under water.)

Males can be difficult to identify, but the female’s saffron veined wings “seem to glow in the right light" (Mead). Note the female’s yellow spots (stigma) at the end of her wings. Last year I posted closeup photos of both sexes of Saffron-winged Meadowhawks.

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