135. Red-veined Darter – Sympetrum fonscolombii – UK – European Dragonfly photo
I once found the Red-veined Darter ( Sympetrum fonscolombii ) sheltering in hundreds of both sexes in an old quarry above the Straits of Gibraltar on a very blustery autumnal day with a strong wind blowing inland from the Meditteranean. I began to wonder if they were waiting for the wind direction to change in order to emigrate back across to Africa. It is a strong migrant within Europe and sporadically large influxes may be seen early in the season. Males are highly territorial and much more active than other members of the family, spending more time flying than resting.
KEY I/D FEATURES :
This is a slightly larger species than the other Sympetrums. The males have a plain orange-red abdomen with central black marks on Segments 8-9. The wing veins are red but those that are thicker towards the base of the wings start off as yellow. There is also a yellow patch at the base of the hindwing. The pterostigma are pale yellow but the black surrounding veins make them stand out quite prominently. The face is strikingly pink with whiter sides and this shows well in the fourth photo The lower half of the eyes are bluey-grey when viewed from the side and there is a similar coloured stripe on the sides of the thorax.
Females have yellow abdomens, again with the central black marks on Segments 8-9, and the wing veins are yellow.