band-winged meadowhawk

(Sympetrum semicinctum)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

band-winged meadowhawk


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Uncommon or locally common


Late June to late September


Small ponds, shallow marshes.


Total Length: to 13 16

    Photo by Kari Miller

This is a small meadowhawk.

The thorax is brown and is covered with brown hairs.

On juveniles the abdomen is dark brown with a black lateral stripe on each side. On mature males it is red. Females appear in two forms. On red form females the abdomen is red. On yellow form females it is whitish-yellow. All mature individuals have a black triangular marking on each side of each abdominal segment which, taken together, form a jagged, black line.

The face is yellow to brown.

The legs are black.

The inner third of the forewing is amber. The inner half of the hindwing, from the point of attachment to the wing notch (nodus) is amber. All of the wing veins are black. In males and most females, the outer portion of the amber area on the hindwing is darkened, forming a band. The outer portion of both wings is clear except for the dark stigma on the leading edge of each wing.

On the eastern form band-winged meadowhawk (S. s. semicinctum) each wing is amber from the base to the node. On the hindwings, it darkens in the outer region becoming a dark brown nodal band. The thorax is brown. On the western form band-winged meadowhawk (S. s. occidentale) all wings have diffuse amber coloring from the base to the node. The thorax is yellow to brown and there are narrow black lines on the side in the form of an irregular W. Eastern form band-winged meadowhawk lacks these markings. Both forms occur in Minnesota.


Saffron-winged meadowhawk (Sympetrum costiferum) veins within the amber wing patch are reddish or orange, not black.

Larval Food


Adult Food


Life Cycle

Eggs are laid among plants emerging from the water at the edges of ponds and in marshes while the female is still in tandem with the male.



Distribution Distribution Map   Distribution Map   Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 16, 18, 24, 29, 30.
  Sympetrum semicinctum S. s. occidentale   S. s. semicinctum    

Western meadowhawk was formerly considered as a separate species, Sympetrum occidentale. A recent molecular and morphological study (Dohlen, 2007) showed that the two species are identical at two genetic loci and that the morphological characters used to distinguish them overlapped. However, the geographic variation is distinct and is predictable. For that reason, the subspecies names have been preserved.



Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)






Anisoptera (dragonflies)






Libellulidae (skimmers)

Subordinate Taxa

eastern band-winged meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum semicinctum)

western meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum californicum)

western meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum fasciatum)

western meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum occidentale)


Sympetrum occidentale


band-winged meadowhawk








On a dragonfly, the small notch on the lead edge of each wing about halfway between the body and the tip.



In plants, the portion of the female part of the flower that is receptive to pollen. In Lepidoptera, an area of specialized scent scales on the forewing of some skippers, hairstreaks, and moths. In Odonata, a thickened, dark or opaque cell near the tip of the wing on the leading edge.



Visitor Photos
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Norm & Peg Dibble
  band-winged meadowhawk    
Lynn Rubey

Adult male Band-winged Meadowhawk on a leaf in the prairie in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.

  band-winged meadowhawk    
Kari Miller
  band-winged meadowhawk    Photos
  band-winged meadowhawk   band-winged meadowhawk
  band-winged meadowhawk    



  Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum)  
  Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum)
Bill Keim
  Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum)  
  Sympetrum semicinctum (Band-winged Meadowhawk)
Allen Chartier
  Sympetrum semicinctum (Band-winged Meadowhawk)  
  Band-winged Meadowhawk
Victor Fazio
  Band-winged Meadowhawk  



Visitor Videos
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Other Videos
  Band-winged Meadowhawk

Uploaded on Sep 14, 2010

Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum) at Lake Byllesby Dakota County Park near Cannon Falls, Minnesota, on September 14th, 2010.

  Band-winged Meadowhawk (Libellulidae: Sympetrum semicinctum)
Carl Barrentine

Uploaded on Jul 8, 2010

Photographed in the strong prairie wind at the Glacial Ridge NWR, Minnesota (07 July 2010).

  Band-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum semicinctum
Meena Haribal

Uploaded on Jul 21, 2009

Band-winged Meadow Hawk Sympetrum semicinctum, female, eating an insect and dash off to catch anotehr insect and gulp it up is short time.

  Band-winged Meadowhawk (Libellulidae: Sympetrum semicinctum) on Ground
Carl Barrentine

Uploaded on Aug 17, 2010

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (16 August 2010).

  Dragonfly - Western Meadowhawk

Uploaded on Sep 6, 2010

Western Meadowhawk dragonfly (presumably) filmed at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia - summer 2010.




Visitor Sightings
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Norm & Peg Dibble

Location: Maple Grove, MN

On 08/3/2019 there was a Dragonfly on our tall Joe Pye Weed plant. Fortunately, it stayed still long enough for me to get a few nice photos of it. I’m wondering if it is one of the Meadowhawk Dragonflies?

band-winged meadowhawk

Lynn Rubey

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

Adult male Band-winged Meadowhawk on a leaf in the prairie in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.

band-winged meadowhawk

Kari Miller

Location: Austin, MN - Mower County

I think my ID is correct, if not I'd love to know which species it is.

band-winged meadowhawk

John Valo

Your ID is correct. This is the eastern form S. s. semicinctum. Sightings




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