Common Darter Dragonfly - Western Isles - Hebrides Insects

Common Darter Dragonfly at Balallan - Isle of Lewis - Western Isles

Common Darter Dragonfly - Western Isles
Sympetrum striolatum

The common darter is a small, narrow-bodied dragonfly which is on the wing from the end of June right through to October, or even November in a warm autumn. This dragonfly has a wingspan of approximately 58mms

The female common darters and immature common darters are golden brown colour. (female pic opposite) whilst the males have an orange red body. This is one of the last dragonflies of the year on the wing & can be seen from mid June right through into November in some sheltered parts

Often Confused with The "Ruddy Darter"
This species is most likely to be confused with the Ruddy Darter, but the male of that species has a 'waisted' abdomen and are a deeper red than the common darter males.

The common darters seem to be colonising new localities in Scotland.

Common Darter can Be Inactive in Low Temperatures
Common Darters perch on fences, twigs and wires whilst it searches for passing prey. It is able to remain active in lower temperatures than other species, partly by seeking out sunny spots to warm up in.

Common Darter Dragonfly - Isle of Lewis
Click pictures below for larger photographs
Common Darter Female Dragonfly
Common Darter - Black Legs - Yellow Streaks
The common darter has black legs with yellow streaks

The common darter prefers shallow, newly-created ponds with sparse aquatic vegetation or very shallow ditches, bogs and seepages.

Intricate Aerobatics
Males are often around the water's edge. They defend their immediate area from rivals. They choose territories for their exposure to sunlight and so vary both over the course of the day & seasonally. Territories may be unguarded during mating activity, and so taken by subordinate males.

Common Darter Name Derivation
As their name suggests, common darters dart forward suddenly from a hovering position to catch their insect prey. They then take their catch to a favoured perch to eat it.

Mating - Common Darters
Mating begins in tandem, in which the male clasps the female behind the head and the two pair flies in this position, one dragonfly behind the other. Animals may also fly in the 'mating wheel' position, in which reproduction takes place. Females typically oviposit while in tandem and do so in open water, though often surrounded by vegetation. During this process, the male 'guides' oviposition by raising and lowering the pair's position above the water.


How fast do dragonflies fly? How long does a dragonfly live? Related to the Fly or not? What does a dragonfly eat? Remarkable eyesight of a dragonfly?

Click Here To read Dragonfly & Damselflies Facts and View Other Western Isles Species

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