Insect Life

An email today from a reader:

Dear FoSCP,

I came across this lovely specimen yesterday whilst out walking my dogs. Sunbathing on the bench opposite the stream (it was, not me!). Can you tell me what it is?

Thank you

Simes Handley

Simes, thank you very much for the pictures; this is the fourth species of dragonfly to be photographed in the park this year. It brings the year’s total of Odonata to eight.

We think this is a common darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Both male and female common darters are described as having bright yellow panels on the side of their thorax and eyes that are brown at the top and yellow at the bottom. The diagnostic feature, though, is their legs, which are black with a yellow stripe running down their length. Below, we have enlarged one of your pictures as far as we can and believe it does show a yellow stripe down the length of the dragonfly’s leg.



The mature male common darter is a bright orange-red and the female is lighter, yellow and light brown; but an immature male can be less red and an ageing female  can develop elements of male colouration. We are inclined to think that this is a male, probably immature.

This is the first sighting of a common darter in the park and a new name for our species lists. Well spotted and thank you again for sending in the pictures.


Simes Handley took all the pictures

Here are more of our dragonflies:

southern hawker

scarce chaser 2


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