Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum

Scientific Name: Sympetrum sanguineum (Libellulidae).

English Name: Ruddy Darter (Darters, Skimmers and Chasers family).

French Name: Le Sympétrum rouge sang (='blood red darter').

5 Key Characters:
  • black legs (no yellow).
  • mature males are very red, with red faces, no distictive markings on the thorax and a slightly clubbed abdomen; females are yellowish with black spots down the sides.
  • wings have a small but obvious area of yellow at the base. 
  • a small dragonfly (35 - 40 mm long, wingspan 50 - 60 mm).
  • bouncy, darting flight.
Lookalikes: Spotted Darter Sympetrum depressiusculum, which is very rare and has a more orange abdomen with pairs of black spots and no red face.

Habitat: Often at eutrophic or brackish permanent ponds (marshes, ponds, étangs, lakes, oxbows, fens, former gravel pits, overflow ponds and still parts of water courses), but sometimes also seasonal swamps and flooded pasture. Likes lush aquatic vegetation such as reeds and sedges. Avoids running or acidic water. Not very territorial and a number can be seen gathered together but maintaining a distance of a couple of metres from each other.

Flight Period: April-May-June-July-August-September-October-November.

Status: Very common.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Female, caught in a survey of the Réserve Naturelle de la Chérine, the LPO site in the Brenne.

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