Cardinal Meadowhawk

Sympetrum illotum (Hagen, 1861)

(sym•PET•rum  il•LOW•tum)



Quick Identification Tips

  • Bright red west coast species with cream-colored thoracic spots—never stripes, even when immature.
  • Legs are brown (not black as S. madidum)
  • Abdomen is wider and flatter than other meadowhawks and has no black markings.
  • Wings veins are red to orange on the basal half of the wings, with several black wing cells at the very base of front and rear wings (S. signiferum has black patch on rear wing only).



Similar Species

Closely related to the South American species Sympetrum gilvum.


Natural History

Observed nearly year round in California. The first meadowhawk to emerge, with the exception of the migrant S. corruptum.


Journal Notes



Hind wing:


Flight season: