136. Common Darter – Sympetrum striolatum – UK – European Dragonfly photo
The Common Darter ( Sympetrum striolatum ) is widespread and as common as its name implies. It is also migratory, sometimes in large numbers. It breeds in a range of different waters but seems to prefer those which are quite shallow and stagnant which consequently heat up. The Common Darter is often one of the first species to colonise newly created ponds in a similar way to the Broad-bodied Chaser – Libellula depressa. The fate of many dragonflies is shown in the last two photographs. A fresh male has either been damaged on emergence or through attempted predation and whilst it can still fly it will almost certainly not breed and survive. The adult male has been caught in a spiders web by one wing and in its struggles has been left blowing in the wind by two strands.
KEY I/D FEATURES
Males when mature have abdomens which are less deeply red than others in the family and they are barely clubbed. The thorax has two small antehumeral stripes with two prominent yellow patches when seen from the side. These can be seen clearly in the first photo. The legs are black but with yellow on the tibiae and femora. Immature males are yellow.
Females are yellow which darkens considerably with age.