Dragonfly: Cardinal Meadowhawks - immature males (Sympetrum illotum)

This young male dragonfly is a Cardinal Meadowhawk. He is very orange colored but will turn completely Cardinal red when mature. The first 3 photographs were taken at Bigsnest Wildlife Pond on March 29, 2002.
In the first two photos, you can see the black marks close in to the base of the wings which distinguish this species from the Red-veined Meadowhawk
The young male pictured above was unable to break up the pair below, but he sat still so I could capture his image.
Amazingly these young males found a female and here a tandem pair prepare to oviposit.
This photo was taken after about 2 more weeks of maturation and this male now shows only a trace of orange coloring (4-19-02)

Here is another young male (April 2000).
IF you have a good sense of humor you'll appreciate this comment by Dennis Paulson: "....a young male going through the oriole stage on its way to becoming a full cardinal."
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