This small heathland and moorland species is the only UK black dragonfly (males).

Mature male: black with some yellow markings.

Females and immature males: yellow abdomen and brown thorax.

Where to See

Latin NameSympetrum danae

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

Status & Distribution

Widespread and can be abundant, especially in the north.

Local abundant in southern Ireland, as well as eastern and central 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).
  • Mature male: extensively black body with some yellow marking and black frons (face).
  • Females and immature males: 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