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COMMON DARTER (Sympetrum striolatum) Charpentier

 

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PICTURE: Common Darter (male) seen at Seaview N.N.R, Lincolnshire, September 2011.

             
 

DISTRIBUTION: This species is widespread throughout England, Wales Ireland and north west Scotland, and is fairly common where it resides. The species is absent from the uplands of northern England and Scotland.

WING SPAN: 57mm to 59mm.             BODY LENGTH: 36mm to 38mm .              STATUS: Resident.

FLIGHT PERIOD: This species emerges as early as late May and can be on the wing from any time from June to September, or early October.

LARVAL PERIOD: The eggs are laid in flight whilst the male and female are still in tandem, but occasion females egg lay while flying alone. The female repeatedly dips the tip of her abdomen in shallow water depositing her eggs with each dip. Eggs hatch within a few weeks, or if laid late in the season they hatch in the following spring.  The larvae live in the weed and mud and emerge in the following spring and summer, usually in the morning.

HABITAT: Habitats are wide ranging and include ponds, lakes, ditches, dykes, canals, sluggish rivers and even brackish waters in faster water courses.

FOOD SOURCE: Various species of invertebrates.

SIMILAR SPECIES: Ruddy, Red-veined, Yellow-winged and Southern Darter males have a similar appearance.

       
               
             
               
             
 

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