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Common Darter Dragonflies - Sympetrum striolatum

Sympetrum striolatum - Common Darter Dragonflies.

Class: Insecta (insects)
Order: Odonata (dragonflies and Damselflies)
Suborder: Epiprocta
Infraorder: Anisoptera (dragonflies)
Family: Libellulidae (skimmers or perchers)
Genus: Sympetrum (darters)
Species: S. striolatum (Common Darter)

The Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) is a dragonfly of the family Libellulidae native to Europe.

Sympetrum (Darter) species are not easy to tell apart and in most areas more than one Sympetrum species will occur. Females and immature males 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 (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 to November.

Common Darter Dragonflies are seen around a wide variety of habitats, including lakes, ponds, canals and slow-flowing rivers. They are ambush predators, waiting on a prominent perch and flying after and catching on the wing any prey that flies by. They are territorial on breeding waters, often attempting to chase much bigger Dragonflies away, but
in suitable hunting areas away from water, they appear not be territorial.

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