Subject: band -winged meadowhawk?
Location: Auburn, NJ
July 22, 2012 9:34 am
I’m finding this dragonfly more difficult to identify, as the red (female?) seems to get the most attention in the pics I’ve found to compare to. I think of aviator sunglasses when I see this kind of banding, know I have seen them each summer the past few years.
Still not sure though…but best guess?
Signature: Creek Keeper

What’s That Dragonfly???

Dear Creek Keeper,
We often have trouble with Dragonfly identifications.  It is the male Band Winged Meadowhawk that is red, not the female.  In our opinion, the abdomen markings do not look correct for this to be a female Band Winged Meadowhawk based on BugGuide images.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this identification.

Appreciate your taking the time to look. I don’t feel so bad if even you have trouble.  Seems there are variations on every theme, so not so easy to sort out.  Plus, I have to get lucky enough to get a decent shot for details you just can’t see when they’re on the wing.  Which is most of the time.
I had trouble with this one last year too, so will keep trying.

Update with new photo
Daniel, I thought I had identified a different species on my own over the weekend, didn’t want to ask too many requests. But compare these two,attached pics if you have time, and tell me if you think  Widow skimmer  might be right instead of meadow hawk?…
going buggy in South Jersey,
Creek Keeper

Possibly Widow Skimmer

Hello again Val,
We actually considered the Widow Skimmer, but the coloration of the body didn’t seem right on the first image you sent since it doesn’t have yellow stripes.  Perhaps it is a male that is just beginning to turn pruinose.  Here is the description from Bugguide:  “Mature males have a large basal area of brown on each of the four wings, and each wing also has a whitish area roughly at the middle. Their brown bodies become increasingly pruinose (whitish) as they get older.  Females and immature males have the same brown wing bands as the mature males, but not the whitish areas. Wings usually have a brown tip. A dorsal view of the abdomen shows a brown band at center with a yellow stripe running along each side.”

Thanks again Daniel.   Dragonflies are just so difficult, the differences are subtle but maybe if I keep taking pictures eventually we’ll track them down. And if nothing else, maybe the pics will help someone else with the same dilemma down the road.   It just gets a bit overwhelming for a layperson to navigate the big sites, though I think I have looked at every pic on bug guide at this point?  Seemed like.
So, there’s a NJ dragonfly site, I’ll put a query in there. Though not sure they will respond, seems I’ve tried before. Appreciate your taking the time to answer. I’ll let you know if I can get it figured out.
In the meantime, my  pet name for this one is Top Gun. Looks like he’s wearing aviator sunglasses, right?  ha

Location: New Jersey

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