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Woodcroft Wildspace

Woodcroft

London     

N21 3QP

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COMMON DARTER DRAGONFLY

FEMALE.

photo by Roger Sanderson

MALE
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

The male Common Darter has an orange-red abdomen and yellow striped legs. The female has a yellowish or light-brown abdomen. They are small dragonflies.

It has a restless flight pattern, and regularly perches on bankside plants. Unlike most other darters, it perches on the ground when it is cool.

Adults feed on flying insects especially small flies, midges and mosquitoes. The larvae feed on moving prey such as water fleas, snails, tadpoles and small fish.

The Common Darter can be seen from mid-June to early October over banksides, lakes and ponds, rivers, ditches, etc. It dislikes shady areas, fast flowing water, and will not visit polluted sites.

The female Common Darter lays groups of eggs in a sticky jelly over submerged plants, often in tandem with the male. Eggs laid in the summer will hatch in about two weeks. Later clutches hatch the following spring and larvae develop in one year. Larvae leave the water to emerge as adults in the early morning from mid-June to early October.

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