Sympetrum sanguineum

 
 
Common Name:
Ruddy Darter
Odonata
Order:
Odonata
Suborder:
Anisoptera
Family:
Libellulidae
Genus:
Sympetrum
Species:
S. sanguineum
The Name
Sympetrum sanguineum (Muller, 1764), the Ruddy Darter, is a European species of dragonfly of the family Libellulidae.

This species is most likely to be confused with the Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombei) and the Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) however the latter is more orange-red and has a straight sided abdomen and yellow stripes on the legs, while for Ruddy Darter, the legs are all black. Female Ruddy Darters are similar to female Black Darters (Sympetrum danae) however in the former there is no black triangular marking on the thorax. 
 
 

 

The Characteristics
This species is smaller than the Common Darter, and usually has a length of 34-36mm, attains a wingspan of up to 6 cm. The legs are entirely black. An intense orange colouration can be seen only at the very base of the wings. The pterostigma is brown. There are usually two prominent black marks on S8 and S9.

The male have the head, thorax and abdomen vivid red, and become blood-red with maturity with a red frons and red-brown thorax. There is a very noticeable constriction of the abdomen around S4, giving a club-shaped appearence.

Females are slightly smaller, have a golden-yellow colour with black markings. The abdomen widens for the final third of its length and shows a marked pinched section where it joins the thorax. There is no red panel on the side of the thorax. Older females may develop some red along the midline and segment boundaries of the abdomen.
 
 

 

The Reproduction and Development
Adults perch on edge of open spaces when feeding. Mature males occupy perches near breeding sites and defend small area around them. Perches often changed if no females encountered. Females are intercepted as they approach breeding sites and taken in tandem by males to bushes for copulation.

Mating takes place on the wing, with the coupled pair performing a dipping flight over the water. The female jettisons her fertilised eggs at the water surface by alternating movements of the abdomen. The male will hover nearby during this period and protect the female by driving off any approaching males. Females oviposit usually when in tandem with male, over open water, clumps of plants or exposed muddy margins by dipping abdomen on water surface to wash off batches of eggs.

Eggs either hatch within a few days of laying, or if laid late in season eggs will diapause until spring. Larval development takes one year beneath the water surface. Larvae live amongst roots of aquatic plants including Typha and Equisetum. Emergence on vertical plant stems in early morning.

Preferred environment are shallow well-vegetated lakes and ponds often in woodland. In Ireland associated with pools in fens and cutover bogs, small base-rich mesotrophic lakes and turlough-like lakes. Flight period from mid June to mid October.
 
 
 

 

The Distribution
The Ruddy Darter is to be found in southern and central Europe to southern most Fennoscandia, and to western Siberia. Absent from most of Mediterranean islands, southernmost Iberia and Italy. Very local in north Africa.
 
 
 

 

The Protection Status
Its conservation status is regarded as secure, and indeed numbers seem to be increasing in some locations such as central England. 
 

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruddy_Darter
http://www.habitas.org.uk/dragonflyireland/5650d.htm

The Species on Stamps
Germany
1991.07.09
Belgium
1996.04.01
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Republic of Srpska
2009.09.09
 
 
 
Aland
2012.06.04

 

 


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