Small dark dragonfly with a pale creamy white face.

Male: black with red-orange markings.

Female: black with yellow markings.




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Latin NameLeucorrhinia dubia

A species of lowland peatbogs.

It requires relatively deep, oligotrophic, acidic bog pools with considerable rafts of Sphagnum at the edges in which to breed.

Larvae also occur among waterlogged Sphagnum in depressions devoid of standing water.

The larvae live within the matrix of submerged and floating sphagnum and are confined to waters without fish. Away from its aquatic habitat it also requires scrub or woodland, which provides important roosting and feeding sites.


  • Habitat destruction and fragmentation.
  • Removal of Sphagnum Moss.
  • Lack of management leading to succession.
  • Changes in site hydrology.
  • Pollution and eutrophication.
  • Introduction of fish.
  • Climate change: erratic rainfall.
  • Disturbance from humans.
Status & Distribution

In Britain the White-faced Darter is a rare dragonfly having declined, notably in England, in the last 35 years. It is the subject of Biodiversity Action Plans in Cheshire and Cumbria.
In Britain the White-faced Darter is found at isolated sites from the Midlands to north Scotland and Chartley Moss is currently the most southerly distribution in the UK. Major strongholds for the species occur in the highlands of Scotland. The populations in both Inverness-shire and Ross-shire are particularly important.

Similar Species

Black Darter 

  • Does not have a white face.
  • Males: black with yellow/orange markings instead of red.



White-faced Darter Management Profile


General management principles include maintenance of the lowland peatland habitat, control of scrub encroachment, and maintenance of both the water quality and quantity. Best practice guidelines have also been suggested for management of inhabited sites, focusing on the control of scrub and management of the aquatic vegetation within bog pools. Habitat creation and restoration should be considered as an option where possible.

Species GroupDragonflies
Identification Notes
  • Length: 33-37mm
  • Pale creamy white frons (face).
  • Wings have small black patches at the base.
  • Male: black with red-orange markings.
  • Female: black with yellow markings.
  • Immature adult: similar to females.
Flight PeriodWhite-faced Darter
Larval Information

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


Under surface of the abdomen has 3 stripes.