Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum


    This is one of the smaller dragonflies. The male is orange-red but becoming brown with age. Females (and juvenile males) are yellowish to light brown. The immature male however has pinky red patches on the thorax and abdomen. This species is most likely to be confused with the Ruddy Darter, but the male of that species has a 'waisted' abdomen.

    Similar Species

    The Ruddy Darter has a 'waisted' abdomen and all black legs (the Common Darter has yellow stripes on the legs).

    Identification difficulty

    Commonly encountered, even away from water.

    When to see it

    The Common Darter is on the wing from late June and can be seen into November.

    Life History

    This species like to perch on fences, twigs and wires whilst it searches for passing prey. It is able to remain active in lower temperatures than other species, partly by seeking out sunny spots to warm up in.

    UK Status

    Common and widespread in England and Wales becoming a little scarcer further north.

    VC55 Status

    It is an abundant and widely distributed species in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Further Information

    The Common Darter is an abundant and widely distributed species in VC 55, being tolerant of many different habitat types. It is also a very dispersive species and is regularly encountered far from water. Historic records show that such abundance has always been the case, with Roebuck (1932) describing the Common Darter as 'very common and widely distributed'.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map