The Common Darter – Sympetrum striolatum, is aptly named and is common throughout Bedfordshire, often flying late into the autumn.
|Libellulidae||Chasers, Skimmers, & Darters|
An abundant, small, dragonfly; the most often recorded species in Bedfordshire. Like other darters, the male is generally red and the female generally yellow.
The male abdomen is thin, becoming more bulbous towards the tip, but without the narrow ‘waist’ that is a feature of the similar Ruddy Darter – Sympetrum sanguineum. The abdomen is red or dark orange, with minimal black markings on segments 8 and 9. The upper surface of the thorax is brown, with large yellow patches extending downwards beneath the wings. The eyes are a dark red brown. The immature male resembles the female in colouring.
The female is predominantly yellow or yellow ochre, with only the upper surface of the thorax appearing brown, and black markings along the side of the abdomen. The eyes are brown above and yellow green below. Females darken with age, becoming a dull brown.
The legs of both sexes are black, with prominent yellow stripes down the length of each limb. The wings have a slight yellow or orange colouring at the base and dark pterostigma.
Overall length: 33 – 44 mm
Wings: 24 – 30 mm
The Common Darter is an abundant species and similar in appearance to other Darters, which may lead to them being overlooked; separating them needs care.
Pretty much anywhere there is clean water: rivers, ponds and lakes, gravel pits.
Common away from water when not breeding.
Bedfordshire’s most common dragonfly species and likely to be found everywhere; most rivers, lakes, and ponds will support a number of them.
Visible from mid-June through to November, peaking in August and September – a long season, and often the last species on the wing.
External links for Common Darter – Sympetrum striolatum:
British Dragonfly Society | Wikipedia