Dark-legged Sympetrum (Meadowhawks) have been a source of confusion in Vermont (and in other places). Two species — Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (S. internum) and Ruby Meadowhawk (S. rubicundulum) — were particularly intertwined in historic records. Many 20th century collectors did not distinguish between the two, perhaps because some identification materials confused the issue. This resulted in numerous specimens and sightings of S. internum being incorrectly labelled as S. rubicundulum. Preliminary examination of historic collections finds that all specimens labelled as S. rubicundulum in northern New England and the Canadian Atlantic provinces are in fact S. internum. Having not yet found a living S. rubicundulum in Vermont, or a specimen in any collection, we have expunged it from the state list. But that does not mean S. rubicundulum isn’t here. We’re looking for it.
Valid S. rubicundulum specimens do occur as close as the Cape Cod area, near Albany New York, and from near Montreal. So it is entirely possible that S. rubicundulum occurs in Vermont, but it will require a vouchered specimen for the species to make it to the state list. Complicating matters is that the two species, plus White-faced Meadowhawk (S. obtrusum), hybridize. Another complication is the status of Jane’s Meadowhawk (S. janeae), which we relegate to variation of S. internum.
To say the least, we suggest you proceed with caution in these murky waters. And we also welcome your specimens from those waters!
Unknown for Vermont. July – August in east.