Small dark dragonfly with a pale creamy white face.

Male: black with red-orange markings.

Female: black with yellow markings.




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Species GroupDragonflies
Scientific NameLeucorrhinia dubia
Status & Distribution

Listed as Endangered in the British Odonata Red List 2008.

Major strongholds for the species occur in the Highlands of Scotland, particularly the north-west. White-faced Darter has declined in England and can now only be found at a handful of sites in the Midlands and Cumbria.


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.


Flight PeriodWhite-faced Darter
Adult Identification
  • 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.
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.

  • 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.

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.

Similar Species

Black Darter 

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