Monday, 4 August 2014

Black Darter.

A visit to the acidic pools on Thursley Common towards the end of July provided an opportunity to locate the Black Darter (Sympetrum danae). This is Britain's smallest resident dragonfly whose overall body length only measures 29-34mm.

The first two images are of a teneral female; so easily confused with a female Common Darter (dark form); but finding the diagnostic dark triangle on the top of the thorax finally clinched the ID.

I located and watched a number of males flying and waiting in attendance as females oviposited close by but the dark, watery background lit by the high overhead sun was not ideal to show off the true colours and patterns of this special Darter. 
I eventually managed to find a mature male perched away from the water who totally ignored my close presence and the encounter provided a chance to get some detailed close up against an uninterrupted background. 

This species' black markings have a thermo-regulatory function for cold conditions and males usually only fly when their body temperature is between 20 - 40 deg C. On very warm days it will perch and point its abdomen vertically towards the sun, known as 'the obelisk position', to reduce the exposed surface area.

All images were shot 'handheld' with the 450D and 70-300mm lens. FAB.


  1. very pretty and detailed shots!

  2. Great shots of a very nice darter Frank. I was lucky enough to find and photograph one at Cliffe Pools in Kent last year, which is totally wrong habitat. You just never know!

  3. FAB shots! Hope you don't mind I stole your phrase. :)

  4. Brilliant find Frank,superb images.

  5. These are stellar, Frank! Beautiful shots!


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