Mystery Picture Answers

No. 7

   Head of a female Common Darter dragonflyFemale Common Darter dragonfly

The head of a female Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum. Common Darters characteristically return to the same perch to sun themselves after flying or "darting" off to catch insect prey in flight.  Perches commonly include prominent dead twigs or wooden fences and railings.  The Common Darter can sometimes be confused with the Ruddy Darter, however, both male and female Common Darters lack the narrowly waisted abdomen possessed by the Ruddy Darter.  The Common Darter is one of the latest British dragonflies to emerge and fly during the late summer and well into the autumn.  It is well distributed throughout England, Wales and Ireland but less common in Scotland.


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