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The bright red males and clear yellow-brown females are attractive. The eyes are brown above and blue below and the wing bases are yellow. The pterostigma is yellow to orange strongly outlined in black.
The males become a deep red with maturity with red veins on the wings, particularly on the leading edges. The frons and the thorax are red-brown.
Females have a ochre yellow abdomen with two black lines along each side. The wing veins are yellow at the costa, leading edge and base.
Immature males are coloured as the females but have only a single line along each side of the abdomen.
Breeds in large shallow water bodies such as rice paddies in Sothern Europe.
Status & Distribution
Fairly frequent migrant, principally to southwest England though scattered records from elsewhere (has reached Scotland). Breeds nearly annually, but colonies seemingly not stable.
The various resident and migrant species of Darter in the UK are easily confused, the females being particularly difficult to tell apart.