Scientific Name: Sympetrum vulgatum (Libellulidae).
English Name: Moustached Darter. Also Vagrant Darter. (Chasers, Skimmers and Darters family.)
French Name: Le Sympétrum vulgaire (='the common darter').
5 Key Characters:
- the black on the frons (between the eyes) extends along the front edge of the eye (like a drooping moustache).
- the thorax is brown, with no really obvious markings.
- a medium sized dragonfly, 35-40mm long with a wingspan of 55mm.
- mature males have a brick red abdomen, slightly club shaped.
- legs striped black and yellow.
Lookalikes: Darters Sympetrum spp are never easy to tell apart. Ideally you need a good view of the moustache to confidently identify this species.
Habitat: Shallow standing water (ditches, ponds, étangs, lakes, oxbows, former gravel pits and quarries that have flooded) with fairly lush vegetation. A strong flyer that often migrates. Often seen perched on bushes, stones or bare earth on banks, but also in sheltered places far from water, especially in the autumn, when old individuals may be spotted warming themselves up in sunny woodland clearings.
Flight Period: June-July-August-September-October-November.
Status: Locally common in the Brenne, not common in the Touraine. They are not threatened in the Touraine, but have just never been very common as it is on the western edge of their range.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature: