Welcome Summer! – Autumn Meadowhawk Dragonfly

Autumn Meadowhawk on Waterlily Seed Pod” (Paintography) – Copyright Anne M. Freeman


One thing I absolutely love about nature photography is the great names that folks have come up with for creatures such as dragonflies, birds, flowers, and the like.  “Autumn Meadowhawk” ( Odonate Sympetrum vicinum) is the name of this fine fellow, who is a male and is about 1.3 inches in length.  The female of this species is brownish and smaller.  In the insect world, he is a predator, a hawk – a predator of the sky that strikes fear in the tiny hearts of other flying insects as does the hawk for other feathered friends.  He is a handsome fellow, no doubt, with a red tail, a great round head, and red-tipped gossamer wings.  But don’t let those wings fool you!

Dragonflies can move in six directions when flying: upward, downward, forward, back, and side to side.  Depending upon the species, dragonflies can fly from 19-32 miles an hour. Pretty darn fast for a bug.  They also have huge eyes that take up most of their large heads.  I’ve read that they have 20,000-30,000 lenses in their compound eyes, with a huge field of vision.  They are sight hunters, so this make sense – also, they need to avoid predatory birds.  They use their six legs to capture prey on the wing and eat their prey while flying.

Autumn Meadowhawks are primarily “perchers,” meaning that they perch somewhere inconspicuous and then dart out to capture their prey.  Consequently, they like still or slow moving bodies of water and streams with plenty of vegetation.  Like all dragonflies, the Autumn Meadowhawk lives two lives – one as a nymph living and preying underwater (they begin their predatory habits upon emergence from their egg).  In some species, the nymphs may live several years under water!  When they are ready to emerge, the nymph climbs out of the water to molt and emerges as a dragonfly for the last – and shorter phase of their life in the summer.    As adult dragonflies, the will Eat. Pray. Love – no.  Sorry!  They will eat, make love, lays eggs, and die when the cold weather comes.

I leave you with a lovely poem about the dragonfly by Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson:

The Dragon-fly by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.
In its eyes are mirrored far-off-mountains



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7 thoughts on “Welcome Summer! – Autumn Meadowhawk Dragonfly

  1. I absolutely LOVE this series Anne!! My most favorite yet! As I was reading the poem you chose to accompany the picture, I could actually see the imagry in my minds eye of the dragonfly taking that dip!

    The beauty that is every living thing and it’s actions is amazing, if you just open your eyes to it!

    Thank you Anne!!

    • Thank YOU, Dean. I so appreciate your fine comments. They make my day! I didn’t participate in this week’s short story challenge because I didn’t want Rett to be a gambler. Did you? If so, I’ll drop by to read.


      • Hey Anne! No problem! I truly mean the things I say! Love your work!

        I’ve been slacking off a little with the Tuesday Night prompt, but I also didn’t like the prompt. I know I shouldn’t do that, but just wasn’t in to it. Lol. I will be back this week whether I like the prompt or not! 🙂

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