|Length around 38-43mm. The thorax
in both sexes is brown above with poorly defined antehumeral stripes and
yellow panels on the sides. The eyes are brown above and yellow below.
The legs are black with a diagnostic yellow stripe along their length.
The males become a bright orange-red with maturity with small black spots
on S8 and S9. Females have a pale, yellowish-brown abdomen often developing
red markings along the segment boundaries and medial line as they age.
Sympetrum species are not easy to
tell apart and in most areas more than one Sympetrum species will occur.
Females and Teneral individuals have light yellow thorax and abdomen. Males
turn red as they mature. Females darken with age, becoming a dark chocolate
brown, and sometimes develop a blue colouration to the bottom of the abdomen.
The wings also develop a brown tinge with age. In all cases the legs have
a cream or yellow stripe on a black background - this is a diagnostic feature
of this species.
Adults can be seen on the wing all
year round in southern Europe but in northern regions they occur from June
This small Dragonfly is seen in a
wide variety of habitats, including lakes, ponds, canals and slow-flowing
rivers. They are ambush predators, waiting on a prominent perch - such
as a leaf or the top of a gate, until prey fly past, whereupon they will
fly after it. They are territorial on breeding waters, often attempting
to chase much bigger Dragonflies away such as Southern Hawkers. This habit
of repeatedly returning to a sunny spot allows you to easily predict where
they are going to land, which is why it is one of the easiest dragonflies
In suitable hunting areas away from
water, however, they are not territorial: large numbers may assemble -
groups of several hundred in a single field have been recorded - and lines
of insects can be seen along the top of field gates.
This is a generalist lowland species
found in small shallow pools and sheltered lakes. Rapidly colonises newly
created sites. Can tolerate brackish water but avoids heavily shaded, densely
vegetated and highly eutrophic sites.
Flight from mid May to November according