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Sympetrum--Minnesota; Sympetrum--Identification


Sympetrum species may be seen in flight throughout Minnesota in late summer and autumn. Large numbers may be seen flying along the edges of lakes and ponds or foraging in meadows and marsh grass. The general body color varies from yellow-brown in teneral specimens to bright red in older individuals. Only danae never shows red. Unfortunately the red fades to dull brown in dried specimens. The wings may be hyaline or marked with yellow bands. These dragonflies are easily collected with a net as the flight is not particularly swift and they rest frequently.

The literature indicates this large genus is represented in Minnesota by six species, although ten are regional. Needham and Westfall (1955) state "about a dozen" are North American although fourteen populations are treated in this comprehensive work. Whedon ( 1914) lists six species as occurring in Minnesota; however, one has been subsequently moved to Tarnetrum, and another has been reduced to synonomy. Existing literature does allow identification of local species, although females are not always clearly defined. This study was initiated to determine how many Sympetrum species the abundant and varied aquatic habitat of Minnesota supported; and if these species were associated with particular aquatic habitats.

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