Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)
Species
Male Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Taken at Radley Lakes, Oxon. Approx 3.5x lifesize.
Male. Taken at Radley Lakes, Oxon., on October 12th 2013.
(1/100th sec at f13. Approx 2x life size. Click image for larger version)
Male Common Darter. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon on August 16th 2009. Approx 4.5x lifesize.
Male side view. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon on August 16th 2009.
(1/125th sec at f11. Approx 2.75x life size. Click image for larger version)
Immature male Common Darter. Taken at Sydlings Copse, Oxon, on July 25th 2011. Approx 3.5x lifesize.
Immature male. Taken at Sydlings Copse, Oxon, on July 25th 2011.
(1/320th sec at f14. Approx 2x life size. Click image for larger version)

Male of form nigrifemur. Jardim Botanico, Funchal, Madeira on March 8th 2008.
(Approx 2.25x life size)
Female Common Darter. Taken at Cothill Fen, Oxon. Approx 3.5x lifesize.
Female. Taken at Cothill Fen, Oxon., on August 7th 2016.
(1/200th sec at f14. Approx 2x life size. Click image for larger version)
Old female Common Darter. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon. Approx 3.5x lifesize.
Old female. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on August 7th 2016.
(1/500th sec at f14. Approx 2x lifesize. Click image for larger version)
Common Darter mating wheel. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon. Approx 3.5x lifesize.
Mating wheel. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on September 7th 2015.
(1/1000th sec at f16. Approx 2x life size. Click image for larger version.)

© David Hastings

Description

Wing span: 48 - 60 mm; Body length: 35 - 44 mm
 
A summer and autumn species, this dragonfly is the most widespread species in Britain. The thorax in both sexes is brown above with poorly defined antehumeral stripes, and yellow panels on the sides. The eyes are brown above and yellow below. The legs are black with a diagnostic yellow stripe along their length. The males become a bright orange-red with maturity with small black spots on S8 and S9. Females have a pale, yellowish-brown abdomen, and often develop red markings along the segment boundaries and medial line as they age. There are two so-called "Atlantic Darters" which are sometimes treated as full species. Form nigrifemur is found in Macaronesia, and form nigrescens is found along the Atlantic coast of Ireland, Scotland and Norway.
 
It is common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
 
It can be found in a wide range of habitats, but prefers warm, stagnant waters which are often shallow and bare. It will also tolerate brackish water.
 
Eggs are usually laid in shallow water with the pair in tandem. The larvae live amongst mud and weed and emerge after a year. Emergence occurs over a prolonged period from June until October, and individuals can persist into December.
 
Individuals bask on sheltered bare ground, allowing them to be active in cool autum conditions. They dart from perches to intercept intruders or catch prey, often returning to the same spot. Mating occurs at rest.
 
A common and widespread species.
 

Sightings

13-Nov-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(1)
23-Oct-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(7)
09-Oct-2016:Standlake Common, Oxon(2)
02-Oct-2016:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(3m,3f)
18-Sep-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(75+)
11-Sep-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(50+)
04-Sep-2016:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(5)
14-Aug-2016:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(10+)
14-Aug-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(1+)
07-Aug-2016:Cothill Fen, Oxon(4m)
07-Aug-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(75+)
06-Aug-2016:Greenham Common, Berks(10m,6f)
06-Aug-2016:Fence Wood, Berks(1m,1f)
31-Jul-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(5)
23-Jul-2016:Bernwood Meadows, Bucks(3)
23-Jul-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
23-Jul-2016:Bernwood Forest, Bucks(5)
16-Jul-2016:Crookham Common, Berks(2m,2f)
16-Jul-2016:Silchester Common, Hants(2m,3f)
11-Jul-2016:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(40+)
11-Jul-2016:Bernwood Forest, Bucks(20+)
07-Jul-2016:Fermyn Wood, Northants(1)
03-Jul-2016:Gait Barrows NNR, Lancashire(10)

01-Nov-2015:Baulking, Oxon(5)
23-Oct-2015:Cley Marshes, Norfolk(2)
27-Sep-2015:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
19-Sep-2015:Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon(1)
12-Sep-2015:Radley Lakes, Oxon(25+)
07-Sep-2015:Otmoor, Oxon(50+)
06-Sep-2015:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(2)
22-Aug-2015:Yeosden Bank, Bucks(1f)
15-Aug-2015:Rushy Common, Oxon(2m,3f)
08-Aug-2015:Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon(1)
02-Aug-2015:Otmoor, Oxon(6)
26-Jul-2015:Bansko meadows, Bulgaria
23-Jul-2015:nr Novo Hodzhovo, Bulgaria
18-Jul-2015:Crookham Common, Berks(6)

01-Nov-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
19-Oct-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(25+)
05-Oct-2014:Chimney Meadows, Oxon(9)
28-Sep-2014:Radley Lakes, Oxon(15+)
21-Sep-2014:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(28+)
14-Sep-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(25+)
13-Sep-2014:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(10+)
13-Sep-2014:Garden, Abingdon, Oxon(1)
04-Sep-2014:Marston Meadows, Oxon(1)
31-Aug-2014:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(10+)
28-Aug-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(100+)
24-Aug-2014:Parsonage Moor, Oxon(7m)
24-Aug-2014:Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon(8m,1f)
24-Aug-2014:Cothill Fen, Oxon(1m,3f)
20-Aug-2014:University Parks, Oxford, Oxon(2)
17-Aug-2014:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(12)
09-Aug-2014:Sole Common Pond, Berks(1)
03-Aug-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
31-Jul-2014:Myers Allotment, Lancashire(1)
20-Jul-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
10-Jul-2014:Marston Meadows, Oxon(1m)
10-Jul-2014:University Parks, Oxford, Oxon(1f)
30-Jun-2014:Tophill Low, E. Yorks(10+)
29-Jun-2014:Crowle Moor, N. Lincs(1)
19-Jun-2014:nr Starosel, Bulgaria
16-Jun-2014:Whelford Pools, Glos(1 ten)

03-Nov-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
12-Oct-2013:Radley Lakes, Oxon(8m,4f)
06-Oct-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(50+)
05-Oct-2013:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(4m,2f)
29-Sep-2013:Chimney Meadows, Oxon(5m,3f)
22-Sep-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(10m,7f)
21-Sep-2013:Radley Lakes, Oxon(1)
08-Sep-2013:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(3m,5f)
29-Aug-2013:Marston Meadows, Oxon(2)
26-Aug-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
24-Aug-2013:Radley Lakes, Oxon(8)
20-Aug-2013:Marston Meadows, Oxon(2m)
11-Aug-2013:Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon(1)
10-Aug-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(7)
10-Aug-2013:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(20+)
04-Aug-2013:Bowdown Wood, Berks(2)
04-Aug-2013:Greenham Common, Berks(1)
13-Jul-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(2 (ten))
08-Jul-2013:Whelford Pools, Glos(2)