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Common Darter Dragonflies

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photo of a male Common Darter Dragonfly

photo of a female Common Darter Dragonfly

photo of a juvenile Common Darter Dragonfly

photo of a Pair of Common Darter Dragonflies egg-laying

Quick Facts

Scientific name:  Sympetrum striolatum

Size:  Body length up to 45mm.  Wingspan approx 58mm

Distribution:  Found throughout most of the UK but absent from a few areas of Scotland

Months seen:  June to November

Habitat:  Open ponds, lakes, rivers and ditches

Food:  Flying invertebrates

Special features:  The male Common Darters have a bright red-orange body.  They look similar to Ruddy Darters, but the ruddy darter has a more tapered abdomen.  The male Common Darters also have some yellow patches on the sides of the thorax.  Juvenile males start out looking similar to the females, with a pale coloured abdomen and brownish thorax.  As time passes the red-orange abdominal colour develops.

Female Common Darters are a golden brown colour.  Older females are a more grey-brown colour.

The legs of both the males and females have a thin yellow stripe along the sides.

On warm, sunny days you'll see Common Darter Dragonflies perching on bankside vegetation.  On cooler days you may find them resting on the ground trying to catch the warmth of the sun.

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