Working to conserve dragonflies and their wetland habitats

Black Darter

Sympetrum danae

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Description

Length: 29-34mm

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.
The males 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.

Habitat

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.


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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.