The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 187 Odonate species

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Related Species in LIBELLULIDAE: Number of records added in 2020 = 5

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Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum) by John Petranka
Compare with:   Distinctive
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Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and females.

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mapClick on county for list of all its records for Variegated Meadowhawk
flight charts
distribution Resident in the western and central parts of the continent, but just a migrant or stray in the southern Atlantic Coast states. Perhaps resident east to western TN and the panhandle of FL. Casual to now very rare stray to NC, where all but two records known to us are from coastal counties, in 2007 and in 2019 (four records), in the fall season. The first spring records, from the mountains (Madison County) and the eastern Piedmont (Durham County), came in 2020. It makes as much sense, if not more sense, that these spring adults in 2020 were offspring of migrants that came into the state last fall; observers saw indications of breeding by adults at Carolina Beach State Park in fall 2019.
abundance Casual to very rare stray. GA has a few records, and NC, SC, and VA have at least one each.
flight As a "migrant" or stray, to be expected mainly just in the fall season. The only NC dates available are 11 April, 22 April, 24 April, 17 October (twice), 22 October, 23 October, and 30 October.
habitat Breeds at ponds and slow portions of streams. A stray to the East Coast, such as this species, could be seen practically anywhere, especially in coastal habitats. The one found in 2007 in NC was in dune habitat along a barrier island. The 2019 records were all from sandy coastal habitats, such as a sandy lawn, in sand dunes, at limesink ponds in coastal sandhills, and at a coastal landing near tidal water. The 2020 spring records came from a dry wooded area, but close to the French Broad River; and from an upland powerline clearing.
behavior As the species is a migrant to NC from farther west, it could theoretically be seen anywhere in the state. The adults perch fairly low to the ground, and sometimes even on the ground.
comments This species is reported for NC in the IORI website checklist prepared by Bick and Mauffray (1999-2004). However, Cuyler's unpublished data contains no records for the species for NC. Fortunately, Randy Newman photographed one at Fort Macon State Park in fall 2007 for the first definitive record, though we assume there must be an older record/report prior to 2004. On 17 October 2019, Jeff Pippen photographed one near the Cape Hatteras lighthouse (Dare County) and Hunter Phillips photographed another at Morris Landing (Onslow County). Brian Bockhahn also photographed one on 22 October 2019 at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. Lastly, several people -- Bockhahn, John Petranka, Mark Shields, and others at a workshop -- netted and photographed a female and observed a second (a patrolling male) at Carolina Beach State Park (New Hanover County) on 23 October 2019. In fact, the female (after being released) flew low into vegetation as if to be egg-laying. Her behavior, coupled with the male that was clearly patrolling, suggests a first possible breeding in the state. Most exciting was one photographed by Pete Dixon in the Hot Springs area of Madison County on 11 April 2020, our first record away from the coast and our first spring record. Another was photographed in the same general Hot Springs area on 22 April 2020. Following closely on those records was one photographed by Jeff Pippen in the eastern Piedmont, on 24 April 2020. Thus, the species is apparently no longer a complete surprise in NC in the spring season, as a stray or very rare northbound or northwestbound migrant.
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S_rank SA
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G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
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Species account update: LeGrand on 2020-04-25 17:07:21

Photo Gallery for Variegated Meadowhawk

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Durham, 2020-05-07, Power line cut in Duke Forest. About 550 meters NW from where Jeff Pippen's 2020-04-24 male was found. - Female.
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Durham, 2020-04-26, Power line cut in Duke Forest - Male. Same locality as Jeff Pippen's 2020_04_24 record. Based on wing venation it is the same individual.
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Durham, 2020-04-26, Power line cut in Duke Forest - Male. Same locality as Jeff Pippen's 2020_04_24 record. Based on wing venation it is the same individual.
Photo by: Jeffrey Pippen

Comment: Durham, 2020-04-24, - Power line cut in Duke Forest
Photo by: Jeffrey Pippen

Comment: Durham, 2020-04-24, - Power line cut in Duke Forest
Photo by: Pete Dixon, Chris Talkington, Robert Gilson

Comment: Madison, 2020-04-22, Polecat Rd, Hot Springs area
Photo by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-04-11, Hot Springs area - ridge-top above Jacks Branch
Photo by: Brian Bockhahn, John Petranka, Mark Shields, ode workshop participants

Comment: New Hanover, 2019-10-23, limesink ponds, Carolina Beach State Park (CABE) - male seen; female netted, photographed, released. Female appeared to be ovipositing, male appeared to be guarding her
Photo by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: New Hanover, 2019-10-22, In dunes south of visitor center, off basin trail on pedestrian beach trail
Photo by: Jeff Pippen, Julie Zickefoose

Comment: Dare; OBL, 2019-10-17, https://www.jeffpippen.com/dragonflies/variegatedmeadowhawk.htm - around the lawn at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Photo by: Hunter Phillips

Comment: Onslow, 2019-10-17, Morris Landing
Photo by: Newman, Randy

Comment: Carteret, 2007-10-30, In dunes south of fort. IDed from poor quality photo.
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Durham, 2020-04-26, Power line cut in Duke Forest - Male. Same locality as Jeff Pippen's 2020_04_24 record. Based on wing venation it is the same individual.
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Durham, 2020-04-26, Power line cut in Duke Forest - Male. Same locality as Jeff Pippen's 2020_04_24 record. Based on wing venation it is the same individual.