Red-veined Darter

Sympetrum fonscolombii

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Length: 38-40mm

Flight period: June to September (occasionally May, October and early November)

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.

Male: becomes a deep red with maturity with red veins on the wings, particularly on the leading edges. The frons and the thorax are red-brown.

Female: ochre yellow abdomen with two black lines along each side. The wing veins are yellow at the costa, leading edge and base.

Immature males: 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.

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Similar species

The various resident and migrant species of Darter in the UK are easily confused, the females being particularly difficult to tell apart.