Length: 29-34mm

Flight period: June to October (occaisonally early November)

This small heathland and moorland species is the only UK black dragonfly (males). The legs are entirely black. There is a constriction of the abdomen around S4, giving a club-shaped appearence. The pterostigma is black.


Male: become extensively black with maturity with a black frons and thorax. Some yellow markings remain along the sides of the abdomen and thorax.

Females and immature males: have a 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.

Where to See

Latin NameSympetrum danae

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

Status & Distribution

Widespread and can be abundant, especially in the north. Local in southern Ireland and eastern and central England.

Similar Species

The black males are unmistakeable but the females resemble other darters. The black panels on the sides and black triangle on the top of the thorax can help.

Species GroupDragonflies
Identification Notes
  • Black males readily identified, both sexes have black legs, male becomes blacker with age
  • Specialises in shallow acidic pools
  • July – September