Ringed boghaunter (Williamsonia lintneri)

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Ringed boghaunter fact file

Ringed boghaunter description

GenusWilliamsonia (1)

A small, dainty dragonfly, the ringed boghaunter (Williamsonia lintneri) is named after the eight distinctive orange bands which encircle its abdomen. It has an ebony brown body, pale tan face and greyish-blue smoky eyes (3) (4). The wings are colourless and transparent, with small, amber patches at the base (3).

The male and female ringed boghaunter are very similar in appearance, although the female has a fatter abdomen with a shorter, thicker appendage at the tip (3) (4).

Length: 2.9 - 3.5 cm (2)
Wing length: 2.2 cm (3)

Ringed boghaunter biology

In terms of reproduction, little is known about the general behaviour of the ringed boghaunter. However, the female ringed boghaunter is known to deposit eggs amongst sphagnum moss in shallow breeding pools, up to 30 centimetres deep (3). After passing through a number of moults, the aquatic nymph emerges in April, using stable vegetation in its pool to crawl about five centimetres out of the water. While clinging to the vegetation, the nymph emerges as the recognisable winged adult (4).

The adult ringed boghaunter emerges as early as April, and its flight period lasts until early June (3). In the three weeks of its adult life, the ringed boghaunter spends the majority of its time basking in sunny spots on tree trunks and rocks in woodland (2) (4).

Not a great deal is known about the diet of the ringed boghaunter, but, like other dragonflies, it is predatory. During the nymph stage it feeds on aquatic invertebrates, and the adult predates small flying insects (3).


Ringed boghaunter range

Endemic to the Untied States of America, the ringed boghaunter has a restricted range and is mainly found in Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts (1) (3) (4). It occurs from eastern Connecticut up through southern New Hampshire and into southwestern Maine, and it has recently been recorded further west in Michigan and Wisconsin (3) (4).


Ringed boghaunter habitat

Preferring fishless sphagnum moss pools, the ringed boghaunter can also be found in bogs or acid fens, often near forests of larch (Larix sp.) , black spruce (Picea mariana) or Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) (1) (2) (5). The larvae are aquatic, while the adult ringed boghaunter can usually be found in nearby vegetation or woodland (3).


Ringed boghaunter status

The ringed boghaunter is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Ringed boghaunter threats

The primary threat to the ringed boghaunter is the destruction of its habitat as a result of urbanisation (3). The forests surrounding its wetland habitat are being removed for residential development (4), and pesticides, pollution, collection and artificial changes in water levels have also been identified as threats (1) (3). During 1990, several locations were sprayed with the insecticide Malathion, which can be deadly to the ringed boghaunter larvae (1).


Ringed boghaunter conservation

At present, the ringed boghaunter is not protected and more conservation action is needed (6). Often, wetland regulations do not include large enough buffer zones to protect the surrounding habitat, which the adult ringed boghaunter depends upon for hunting, breeding and roosting (1) (3) (4).

In the Mount Agamenticus region, a community plan was created to promote low impact development within towns situated close to the ringed boghaunter’s natural habitat. The plan also outlined the need to acquire extra land, creating adequate protective barriers around the ringed boghaunter habitat (7). Similar projects would be beneficial in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (1).

Water quality could also be improved in New Hampshire, as the state wetland regulations have been identified as inadequate in protecting water quality (1).


Find out more

For more information on the ringed boghaunter:

Find out more about dragonfly and damselfly conservation:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


In arthropods (crustaceans, insects and arachnids) the abdomen is the hind region of the body, which is usually segmented to a degree (but not visibly in most spiders). In crustacea (such as crabs), some of the limbs attach to the abdomen; in insects the limbs are attached to the thorax (the part of the body nearest to the head) and not the abdomen.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Wet peat, usually with alkaline water. The alkalinity arises due to ground water seeping through calcareous rocks (rocks containing calcium carbonate).
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
In insects, a stage of growth whereby the hard outer layer of the body (the exoskeleton) is shed and the body becomes larger.
Stage of insect development, similar in appearance to the adult but sexually immature and without wings. The adult form is reached via a series of moults, and the wings develop externally as the nymph grows.


  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2011)
  2. Garrison, R.W., von Ellenrieder, N. and Louton, J.A. (2006) Dragonfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Anisoptera. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  3. NHESP Natural Heritage Endangered Species Programme - Ringed boghaunter (August, 2011)
  4. McLeish, T. (2007) Golden Wings and Hairy Toes: Encounters with New England’s Most Imperilled Wildlife. University Press of New England, Lebanon.
  5. Hammerson, G.A. (2004) ConnecticutWildlife: Biodiversity, Natural History, and Conservation. University Press of New England, Lebanon.
  6. Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife State of Maine - Recommended Changes to Maine’s List of Endangered and Threatened Species (August, 2011) Available at:
  7. Dreese, D.N. (2010) America’s Natural Places: East and Northeast. ABC-CLIO, California.

Image credit

Ringed boghaunter side view  
Ringed boghaunter side view

© Tom Murray

Tom Murray


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