Red Dragonfly

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:      Arthropoda
Class:          Insecta
Order:        Odonata
Suborder:   Anisoptera
Family:       Libellulidae
Genus:        Sympetrum
Species:      S. Fonscolombii
Binomial name:Sympetrum fonscolombii

The Red Dragonfly, also known as the Red-Veined Darter or Nomad is technically known as Sympetrum Fonscolombii, and belongs to the Sympetrum genus. It is widespread in the southern parts of Europe, and since the 1990s, it has also become a common species in the northwestern part of Europe including Ireland and Britain. The behavior and the genetic evidence prove that this species is very much different from the other species of this same genus, and may be replaced by this genus in the future. 

Red Dragonfly

Description

The normal Red Dragonfly attains a length of 4cm, and a wingspan of 6cm. The male Red Dragonfly possesses a red abdomen, brighter than the other species of the Sympetrum genus. Their wings display red veins, and the base of the wings on the hind part are shaded yellow. The Pterostigma of this species is often pale that has a black vein in the border, and the under part of the creature’s eye has a grayish blue shade. The female Red Dragonfly also looks similar to the male, but their wings have yellow veins, and the abdomen shaded in yellow color. The legs of both the male and the female have a black and yellow shade. The juvenile Red Dragonfly looks similar to the female Red Dragonfly but has redder shade in their body.

Red Dragonfly
RED DRAGONFLY

Distribution and Habitat

Red Dragonfly
Photo by: David Wilmot

This Red Dragonfly occurs in most parts of southern and central Europe, including the islands of Mediterranean regions, the regions of the Middle East and some regions of southwestern Asia like Sri-Lanka, India, and Mongolia.  It was widely spread in the south of Europe, but now the range has extended towards the northern parts as well. It also occurs in the Madeira and Canary Islands, and supposed to be the only Libellulid (Wiki: the skimmers or perchers and their relatives form the Libellulidae, the largest dragonfly family in the world) present in the Azores.

Like the other dragonflies, it is also found near the water habitat for breeding, but otherwise, being a migrating creature, it is found away from the water. It can be seen flying over and around the sea area.

READ MORE:  Dragonfly Facts

Behavior

The Red Dragonfly prefers to fly throughout the year around the area of the Mediterranean and its southern parts. But the main period of flight is from May to October, which declines by the winter period. This Red Dragonfly is referred as a territorial species, in which the male dragonfly is often seen resting on a perch. After mating, the male and the female dragonfly fly in tandem for laying eggs. As the time approaches for laying eggs, the female dragonfly is seen dipping her abdomen in the water to release the eggs. Like other insects, the dragonflies do not attain the pupa stage, instead they directly transform from the larvae stage to an adult Red Dragonfly.  This species has more than one generation developing in a year, because the egg and the larval development take less than a period of 3 months. The speed of an adult Red Dragonfly may be about 56 km per hour.

READ MORE:  Green Darner Dragonfly

Food

Like other dragonflies, the Red-Veined dragonfly is also an agile and voracious eater. They prefer eating a wide variety of insects. The adult dragonfly feeds on mosquitoes, ants, flies, fleas, butterflies and sometimes even other dragonflies too. The larvae dragonflies are also carnivorous in nature, and feeds on the insects found in the water habitat. It feeds on tadpoles, eggs of the fish, small fish and larvae of mosquitoes. The lower jaw, also termed as labium rests under their body, but shoot rapidly when its eyes fall on a prey. It is armed with hooks that help them to catch their prey.

67 thoughts on “Red Dragonfly”

  1. I live about 20 miles north of San Francisco, CA and I have a red dragonfly in my yard. I’ve never seen one before, and we have a lot of different kinds of dragonflies, which is why I looked it up. Is this an anomaly or have they now arrived in the U.S.?
    I tried taking a couple of pictures of it, but even from just a few feet away, it looks pretty tiny.

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    • Wow, I just looked it up for the same reason as you! We live about an hour and a half north of Los Angeles and we saw it yesterday for the first time ever and it was back again today.

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      • I live on the Central coast of new Australia and I’m looking at one right now and have taken photos. So beautiful it us sitting on a plant stake. In my garden.

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        • I live in Por Orange, about 90 miniatures from St Augustine. I went to open my back door and one was perched on my door frame. It was so still, I thought it was dead. I said shoo, with my hand, and she flew away. This dragonfly has a spiritual meaning. I lost my oldest child 2 years ago. I thought it was a message. The insect flew to the fence watching me. As I took the trash out she flew beside me…..my heart!

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    • I’m in Saskatchewan Canada this lady week I have a lot of red dragon flies in my yard never seen one we normally have blue ones

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      • I lived in Lethbridge Alberta and a large red coloured one bumped my leg and hovered around my leg for a few seconds and took off. I’ve rarely seen dragonflies let alone a red one.
        I keep thinking I must have imagined it!

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    • I live in Orange County California and have seen a few red dragonfly around a pond in Tustin for several years. I was fascinated by this unusual beauty. That was the only place I had ever seen a red dragonfly until yesterday I was sitting in my car in another city and there was one flitting around above the grass, no pond or water in sight.

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      • I live in Lake Stevens and just saw one. I had to take a video since it was so beautiful!
        Never seen one in my life! Majestic creature!

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    • Wow I live in Manteca, CA and for the past week a red dragonfly has appeared everyday and sits on the same plant in my backyard from morning until dusk.

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    • I see one every time I go to the Clubhouse pool in my community. I think it is the same one each time. It flies very close to us as we do our AquaFit class and kind of hovers over us.

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  2. I also looked it up today after seeing one for the first time in my life. I live in central Oklahoma. It was so incredibly unusual for this area.

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  3. I live in Victoria, TX between Corpus Christi and Houston. We saw one today, June 17n 2022. Pretty cool. Never seen a red dragonfly here before.

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    • I live in Katy, Tx and I have had a red dragonfly to visit my pond for the past 2 yrs. This yr there are three. I love see them.

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  4. I live in Skagit Valley, 60 miles North of Seattle. My husband and I spotted a Red dragonfly today, June 27. We’ve never seen one before either.

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  5. I was fortunate to be in my yard this afternoon and saw a red dragonfly! Red is in bloom right now…. Turks Caps and Crepe Myrtle. I thought how spectacular….a red dragonfly too. And so rare. Austin, Texas (south)

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  6. Central Florida here! Just saw a couple of these red dragonflies while taking a walk today. Being a native Florida this was a first for me. A quick Google search brought me here. Wow!

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    • Outside of Atlanta here (Loganville)! One red dragonfly amongst 1/2 dozen regulars. Landing on my sons finger while in the pool.

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  7. another first sighting of a red dragonfly,(“red veined darter”?) in Bellingham, WA. 20 miles south of the Canadian border. absolutely remarkable. had to Google it. crazy how many sightings seemed to have popped up in the US this summer.

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  8. I just saw one for the first time, and I live on the Eastern Shore of Virginia right on the Chesapeake Bay!

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  9. Saw one today in my yard. 33 years near Glendale, CA and the first time I saw one. Somehow they must have been recently released in the Los Angeles area. Seems many people have seen one lately. He’s welcome to all the mosquitos he can eat!

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  10. I just saw one in my backyard, 30 miles north of San Francisco. I’ve never seen one before so I looked it up here. Any explanation for these unusual sightings in the US?

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  11. I’m in Vancouver, WA and I have a red dragon fly hanging around my yard. I’ve see it everyday for about a week. It’s actually pretty decent sized. It lands in the same spot and hangs out next to me.

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  12. Saw a red dragonfly this afternoon in my backyard pool area – Dallas, TX area. Like others I have never seen on before and looked it up here. It was so cool. He can have all our mosquitos!

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  13. My sister passed 7.7.22 and told me before she died if it was at all possible,,she’d sent a dragonfly and I’d know she was safe and at peace! The next day a blue dragonfly circled me in the back yard for over 7 minutes?? On aug 15 a red dragonfly stayed within 3 ft of me in the garden for over an hour! I have so much footage! It’s the most blissful beautiful experience I’ve ever had!!!

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    • Hi, my mom passed in December and since then I’ve seen red dragonflies off and on, never had before. I feel strongly it’s my mom visiting me. On my lowest of days is coincidentally when I see one. And yes, until recently I have never seen the red ones.

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  14. I just saw two red dragonflies together & did capture a picture of one. I’ve never seen one of these before! I
    am located in Warren, Maine(Midcoast Maine)

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  15. I live in Mission Viejo, CA. Today I saw the largest dragonfly I have ever seen. He was brilliant red and the body was quite thick and bulky unlike most more delicate varieties. The temp outside was 101 at noon and I was power washing my deck.
    He was very agressive and menacing, repeatedly dive bombing me. I am sure he was just wanting water!

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  16. 9/11/22 I am in Central Massachusetts, USA and saw one for the first time- like the last commenter, it was divebombing my head, so the fear overshadowed the coolness a bit- now that I am safely indoors reading all these comments and that it eats mosquitos- I am much more appreciative.

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  17. North Americans commenting on seeing red dragonflies should realize they are not seeing the species in the article. North America has a number of different red Sympetrum species.

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  18. I spotted one in Escondido park in Malibu, CA never seen a dragon fly that big and vibrant in my life. The way I could see it breathing and moving it’s head left to right was so intriguing.

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  19. Today we saw our first red dragonfly near a creek in Franklin Co., Nebraska. Later we saw several smaller ones near the Republican river. They were beautiful. Blue ones are common in Nebraska.

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  20. Just saw one this morning! Looking from a distance, I didn’t know what it was & thought, “wow, that’s a giant red wasp,” at first, then Googled “is there a red dragonfly” and found this thread. I’m in Tomball (Houston), Texas, so…a very rare sight here, for sure! GORGEOUS!

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  21. Saw one in Gulfport,Ms on May 27, 2023 , so pretty and cool ! I was like everyone look it a red dragon fly !!

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  22. I live in San Antonio, TX and have a pond in my backyard. I have several here daily! They are so beautiful!

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  23. I live on Vancouver Island,
    There was a red dragonfly flying around my yard minutes ago.
    I’ve never seen one before!
    Tried to photograph it…but he was a little too quick for my simple camera.

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  24. I live in Cathlamet Washington saw my very first red dragonfly it was amazing. It flew around me and I got to watch it for maybe five minutes just seem to stay next to me.

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  25. When my grandson died, I seen these beautiful creatures for 2 years in a row all summer and had neverseen a red 1 before. Don’t see them often anymore

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  26. Live in Folsom CA and It is about a week I see a red dragon fly in my backyard. that stays for a while and land on a stick and then go It is beautiful. We dont live near pond or water. Now every afternoon look for it that maybe passing by our backyard! 🙂

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  27. I just had a beautiful large red dragonfly around our pool and garden in Bedford, Tx. First time I’ve ever seen one. Wish they would eat all our mosquitoes!

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