23 Types of Red Dragonflies (Pictures And Identification)

A few dragonfly species come in red. It’s mostly males that are seen in a red nuance across the world.

North America, South America, and parts of Central America are known to be the home of many red dragonflies.

These dragonflies always live next to water sources. These can be permanent or temporary water sources.

Red dragonflies are among the most common species of small insect predators around water.

They eat a large number of insects and eggs. Mosquitoes, flies, and even small fish are part of a typical diet of a red dragonfly.

These predators can grow to a wingspan of over 2 inches and are most commonly seen in the summer.

They have an almost year-round presence in Florida and Hawaii.

Red dragonflies are the easiest to spot when mating. The female remains attached to the male after mating.

Both individuals fly together in tandem until the female lays eggs.

This tandem flight is seen just above the water as red dragonflies lay eggs directly in the water, similarly to mosquitoes.

The eggs hatch in the water and the larvae go through multiple molts until it reaches adulthood.

Most red dragonflies in the US are seen in Eastern states.

The following species of red dragonflies are native to the US or introduced to the US with established species that have stable populations.

Many of them are also found in Canada, Mexico, and South American countries.

1. Autumn Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

This species (Sympetrum vicinum) of dragonfly has mostly red coloring with a brown head.

Growing to a length between 1 and 2 inches, Autumn Meadowhawks are native to Eastern parts of the United States.

Like other species, Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies lay eggs in streams and ponds.

Females still attached to males fly above water to lay eggs.

If the couple survives possible fish attacks eggs are laid when the female dips the eggs in the water.

This species is known to eat all types of soft small insects such as mosquitoes, moths, and even termites in Southeastern US habitats.

Small flying insects are among the preferred insects for Autumn Meadowhawks. Flying ants are a common choice for these dragonflies.

12. Red Saddlebags

Red Saddlebags

Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta) are among the most common Eastern North American species with a base red color.

Dragonflies of this genus have a red to brown coloring or a rusty-red color.

Female Red Saddlebags have darker red nuances compared to the males of the species.

Its wings are mostly transparent but the areas closer to the body are characterized by red blotches which seem like bags.

The head of the dragonfly is red and black.

Further red patches are seen on the tip of the abdomen which is dipped in water whenever female Red Saddlebags lay eggs.

3. Flame Skimmer

Flame Skimmer

Flame Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula saturata) are native to Western parts of the US.

As Red Saddlebags, these insects are characterized by coloring with different nuances between males and females.

Male Flame Skimmers have a red color with a strong orange hue while females have a red-brown color.

The male has pure red coloring on his head.

The transparent wings of the species also show red or orange veins.

You can see these dragonflies from May onwards in their natural habitat.

Females are often seen hovering above the water where it lays eggs. The larvae of the species are carnivorous.

4. Roseate Skimmer

Roseate Skimmer

Roseate Skimmer dragonflies (Orthemis ferruginea) have a pink-red color. The darker shades of red are seen closer to its head while the tip of its abdomen has lighter shades of red.

This species of dragonflies grow to a wingspan of up to 44mm.

Roseate Skimmer dragonflies have transparent wings.

This species is among the dragonflies that can live in other areas apart from riparian zones.

They can survive and breed in ditches as well as in other areas with large water containers such as farming irrigation.

Roseate Skimmer dragonflies can also lay eggs in mud.

5. Calico Pennant

Calico Pennant

The male Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) is a dragonfly species with red and black coloring on its body.

Red is also the dominant color of the head. Red to brown spots is seen across the transparent wings of the male.

Females have black and yellow coloring. Black is the main color of the body with yellow spots across.

The wings of the female are also transparent but with black marks instead of red marks.

Common in the Eastern parts of North America, this species is only seen next to the water.

It doesn’t live in rapid waters of high elevation as it prefers tranquil areas where it can easily lay eggs.

6. Needham’s Skimmer

Needham’s Skimmer

Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula needhami) also have coloring differences between males and females.

The male dragonfly has extra red coloring compared to the female.

Males have rusty red bodies with transparent wings that have red veins and red margins. The head of the male has a dark red color.

Females only have partial red coloring on the head and the dorsal of the upper body.

The rest of the body is dominated by yellow and black colors.

Females also have transparent wings which have yellow or black veins.

This species has a large habitat that covers North, Central, and South America.

7. Wandering Glider

Wandering Glider

Wandering Gliders (Pantala flavescens) get their name from their long migration.

This species is believed to be the most important when it comes to long migrations in the entire animal kingdom.

Migrating from India or The Arabian Peninsula to Africa, this species covers thousands of miles despite its small size.

One of the most common migratory routes of the Wandering Glider is from The Maldives to Somalia.

Only males of the species are characterized by red colors, both on the dorsal and ventral sides.

Females are mostly yellow with black and brown sections across the head and the body.

8. Neon Skimmer

Neon Skimmer

Neon Skimmers (Libellula croceipennis) are among the most common red dragonflies in Western North America.

This species is prevalent in the Southwestern territories.

As with most red dragonflies, it’s the males that are mostly red.

They have a bright red body, a red head, and bright red cell margins on their transparent wings.

Females are mostly yellow but they also show bright red coloring on the ventral side of the body.

Both males and females have transparent forewings and hindwings.

9. Band-winged Meadowhawk

Band-winged Meadowhawk

Banded-winged Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum semicinctum) are seen across Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States.

This species is seen in multiple areas including New York and South Carolina, mainly next to water sources.

Males are marked by a bright red dorsal color which is specific to their body and their head.

Females have no red coloring with a few select individuals only having red eyes.

This species appears as soon as April but it remains prevalent at the end of the summer, similarly to most other dragonflies.

Dragonflies of this species eat insects and even small fish.

10. Cardinal Meadowhawk

Cardinal Meadowhawk

This species (Sympetrum illotum) of dragonflies are native to the US as well as to The Caribbean and parts of South America.

Males are known to be mostly red. They have a red body, a red head, red eyes, and even red wing cells.

Females are mostly yellow.

Cardinal Meadowhawk dragonflies are seen across various types of vegetation just above the water.

They wait for insects to fly next to them before grabbing them quickly.

Dragonflies of this genus can also eat insects that live on bodies of water.

11. Blue-faced Meadowhawk

Blue-faced Meadowhawk

This species (Sympetrum ambiguum) of dragonflies gets its name from its blue head and large blue eyes.

Most common in Northern US states, the Blue-faced Meadowhawk also has red coloring across the body.

The dorsal and ventral sides of the male are dominated by a vivid red color with black bands across the lower body.

Its wings have black veins and not red veins as on other red male dragonflies.

This species is most active in the summer and it remains active until the fall.

12. White-faced Meadowhawk

White-faced Meadowhawk

White face coloring is specific to this species (Sympetrum obtrusum) of red dragonflies, as its name implies.

This is a species of dragonflies with considerable coloring differences between males and females.

Males are mostly red, with a black top section of the head and a brighter face color.

Females are mostly yellow with a few black sections across the body.

This species of dragonfly has a brown top section of the head with an off-white face color in the case of the females.

It lives in Northern US states.

13. Striped Meadowhawk

Striped Meadowhawk

Striped Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum pallipes) are specific to Western US territories.

Male and female dragonflies of this genus are differentiated by coloring.

Males dictate the official color of the species as they are mostly red. Black sections are seen across the ventral body of the male.

Females have a yellow to brown color with black stripes along the sides of the body.

Both males and females have transparent wings with black margins.

This species can be seen starting in April in warm Western habitats such as those in California.

14. Red-tailed Pennant

Red-tailed Pennant

A vivid red tail is specific to this species of dragonflies. Red-tailed Pennant dragonflies (Brachymesia furcata) have a black upper body and a black head.

It starts life as an egg that is always laid on vegetation in the water.

This egg hatches into larvae and continues hiding at the bottom of the water or in dense vegetation until it undergoes molts to become an adult.

Red-tailed Pennants are among the few species present in a vast territory from North to South America.

The species is prevalent in the summer.

15. Golden-winged Skimmer

Golden-winged Skimmer

Male Golden-winged Skimmers (Libellula auripennis) have a red head, large red eyes, and long red sections across the tail.

Females are dominated by yellow or yellow-mustard colors.

Golden-winged Skimmer dragonflies are found all across Eastern US territories.

This species has a considerable presence around New York, where it flies from May to August.

The species has an almost year-round presence in the Southeastern states.

December and January are the only months when the Golden-winged Skimmer isn’t active across Florida.

16. Scarlet Skimmer

Scarlet Skimmer

Scarlet Skimmers (Crocothemis servilia) are native to Asia. This species has adapted to other tropical and subtropical climates where it has been introduced.

In the US, Scarlet Skimmers only live in Florida and Hawaii.

This is a species dominated by red colors.

Males have vivid red body coloring, a red head, and a single black dorsal stripe.

Red color variations can be seen. Red-purple or red-orange nuances can sometimes be seen on the sides of its body.

Females are mostly yellow. Secondary colors on the body of the female are light brown, black, yellow, and white.

Females exhibit no red colors.

This species lives next to water sources but it has also adapted to wet open lands across Florida.

17. Red Rock Skimmer

Red Rock Skimmer

Red Rock Skimmer dragonflies (Paltothemis lineatipes) are mostly found across the arid lands of Arizona.

This species has a red and black color in the case of males. The wings are almost orange with transparent cells.

Tiny black dots are also seen along the black bands on the body of the male, a rare trait in red dragonflies.

Females of the species are yellow and black or pale yellow and black.

White marks can be distinguished on the head of the female.

18. Ruby Meadowhawk

Ruby Meadowhawk

Ruby Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum rubicundulum) have red bodies. They have large green eyes and a yellow or green color specific to their face and the ventral upper side of their body.

Black stripes and black legs are specific to the male of the species.

Females have similar black coloring but they are mostly yellow instead of red.

This species has a short season that typically ends in August or September.

It can be seen during the summer months in the Northeastern parts of the US.

19. Amanda’s Pennant

Amanda’s Pennant

Amanda’s Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis amanda) are only native to Southeastern parts of the US.

This species has partial red coloring between males and females. Even males have a reduced percentage of red coloring across the body.

Black and brown colors are specific to the thorax and the eyes of the male while red colors are seen across its abdomen.

The female is yellow and black with large red-brown eyes.

Both males and females of the species have transparent wings with red or brown spots on the areas closer to the body.

Dragonflies of this species are slightly smaller than others as they reach a maximum wingspan of 31mm.

20. Cherry-faced Meadowhawk

Cherry-faced Meadowhawk

With a wingspan of up to 36mm, this species (Sympetrum internum) is among the few that change its colors with age.

While only males are red initially, female Cherry-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies also turn red as they age.

The red color of the abdomen is bright. The thorax has a slightly darker red coloring while the large eyes of the species are red-brown.

Black marks are seen on the lateral sides of the abdomen of males and females.

21. Carmine Skimmer

Carmine Skimmer

This species (Orthemis discolor) of dragonfly has a distinct red-purple color. Male Carmine Skimmers have a red nuance on the lower body and a purple to red nuance on the thorax.

A darker red color is specific to the head. Black marks are seen along the sides of the abdomen.

Female Carmine Skimmer dragonflies have mostly yellow bodies with black bands on the lower body.

The upper body of the female has a brown to purple color.

Males and females have transparent wings.

22. Red-veined Meadowhawk

Red-veined Meadowhawk

Red-veined Meadowhawks (Sympetrum madidum) are among the red dragonflies that only appear late in the season.

This species only comes out in the second part of June.

Male Red-veined Meadowhawks have a dark red dorsal color and a dark red head.

Narrow black bands decorate the body of the male.

The female is yellow-brown.

Dragonflies of this genus are known to fly in tandem whenever mating. Found next to various permanent water sources, they are among the largest red dragonflies.

An adult can reach a wingspan of over 50mm.

You can find the species next to water, probably on rocks or on plant stems as well as on tree branches.

23. Striped Saddlebags

Striped Saddlebags

Striped Saddlebags (Tramea darwini) are among the species with sporadic US presence.

They are mostly seen in Southern Texas and Arizona on occasion as these dragonflies are native to Central and South America.

They have red to brown marks across the wings which makes them seem like carrying saddlebags.

The species has red to brown coloring in the case of males. Yellow coloring is specific to the tip of the abdomen.

This species of dragonflies can be found around different sources of water, even around temporary sources of water.

They lay eggs in water and they can survive on insects that are also known to live next to temporary water sources.

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