Of all the species of meadowhawk dragonflies in MT, the variegated is the most boldly patterned. With a body length of 1.5 to 2 inches, these beautiful dragonflies are often found far from water — often seen on the ground more than other meadowhawks. They tend to be most abundant in the early spring and late summer / fall months.

You may be wondering why this dragonfly pair is flying connected tail-to-head. After mating, some species quickly separate and the male may leave. In others, mating is followed by guarding that allows the male to protect the female from other suitors, thus protecting his lineage. For those species that use contact guarding, the male maintains his grip on the female’s head during egg laying. 
Photos by Kristi DuBois on 6/11/20 in Missoula, MT.