This small heathland and moorland species is the only black dragonfly (males) that can be found in the UK.

Mature male: black with some yellow markings.

Females: yellow-ochre with black markings.



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Latin NameSympetrum danae

A species of peat moss and moorland, breeding in acidic ponds, bog pools and drainage ditches.

  • Climate change; increasing temperatures and erratic rainfall threaten the species bog pool habitat.
  • Ditch installation and drainage.
  • Peat cutting.
  • Forestation of the uplands.


Status & Distribution

Most commonly found in northern and western parts of Britain. It has seen a general and significant decline over the past 50 years, particularly in England.

Similar Species

Mature males are the only black dragonflies in the UK so are unmistakable.

Females and immature males resemble other darters. They can be separated by their:

  • black pterostigma (wing spots).
  • black panels on the sides of the body.
  • dark triangle on the top of the thorax.
Species GroupDragonflies
Identification Notes
  • Length: 29-34mm
  • Black legs.
  • Black pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Male: black body with some yellow marking.
  • Females: yellow-ochre with black markings. Dark triangle on
  • Immature adults: similar colour to females.
  • yellow abdomen and brown thorax marked with a black triangle on top. The side of the thorax and the lower part of the abdomen is strongly marked in black.
Flight PeriodBlack Darter
Larval Information

Darters have a squat, spider-like body-shape and a head that tapers back to the thorax.

Black Darter are the smallest Darter larvae: 13-16mm.