Vagrant Darter

Sympetrum vulgatum

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Description

Length: 35-40mm

Flight: late June to late October (early November)

This species is very similar to the Common Darter but in both sexes the black line between the eyes extends down the sides of the frons (face).

Mature male: a deeper red with the tiny black spots on the abodmen ringed with yellow. The sides of the thorax without clear yellow panels.

Female: yellow-orange without a waist. There is a distinctive, prominent vulvar scale which sticks out at a right angle from under segment 9, at the end of the abdomen.

Habitat

Shallow ponds and lakes with abundant marginal vegetation.

Status & Distribution

Rare migrant from Central Europe. About ten were recorded up to 1946, mostly in south-east England. An unprecedented influx in 1995 led to at least 15 records from Norfolk and others in Suffolk, Kent and London. Most recent records are from the Isle of Wight in 1996 and the west Midlands in 1997. As this is a very rare vagrant dragonfly species, please attach an image when submitting the record.

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Similar species

Very similar to Common Darter. The black transverse bar above the frons descends down the inner margins of the eyes, a character not seen except when examined in the hand. Possibly under-recorded.