Cherry-faced Meadowhawk

Sympetrum internum Montgomery, 1943

(sym•PET•rum  in•TURN•um)

The meaning of this name remains obscure, it may refer to intermediacy between the other two similar species in this group.



Quick Identification Tips

  • Black triangles along abdomen
  • Cherry-colored frons on mature males
  • Wing veins of mature males are tinted red
  • Wings of females can often be startlingly colored with large orange basal patches, often beyond the nodus.


One of the troublesome three, or what I like to call the obtrusum complex. In Minnesota, this threesome is comprised of Sympetrum obtrusum, Sympetrum rubicundulum, and Sympetrum internum. It is this knot of closely related look alikes that gives meadowhawks a bad name, at least by those who demand to identify every last thing down to species. In the northeast, matters get worse by the addition of Sympetrum janeae. Luckily it’s not as impossible to sort through these particular dragonflies; a little practice and some patience will get you through the worst of it.




Mature males have a red-colored frons. Hamules are claw-shaped with two knobs on the inner arm of the hamule.

Females often have large amounts of orange coloring to basal havlves of wings. Vulvar scale is crescent shaped.


Similar Species

Closely related to Sympetrum rubicundulum and Sympetrum obtrusum. Mature males can be separated by coloration. However, juvenile males and females are best identified in hand by close inspection  (using a loupe or microscope) of genitalia.


Minnesota Status

A transitional species. Found throughout Minnesota, though much more abundant in the north.


Natural History

Usually the first meadowhawk to emerge.


A common species, in some locations emergence can be so thick that their numbers, approaching the double digits per square foot, can only be described as a swarm.


Journal Notes

cherry ovipositing among white-faced meadowhawks.


Hind wing: 23 – 28mm Total Length: 32 – 34mm (n=6)